5 new and upcoming sportscars which deserve future GT3 versions
Group GT3 is a set of regulations created by the FIA for converted road cars to be used in various national and international racing series. Such as the SRO GT World Challenge, the ADAC GT Masters, or (as of 2021) DTM.
Since its introduction in 2005, group GT3 has seen 52 homologations, while some GT3 spec cars without homologation are allowed to participate in some GT3 series. GT3’s homologation strategy ensures a low development cost for manufacturers, meaning it is an attractive option to many brands to market themselves to racing enthusiasts.
This low-cost approach means there is a wide spectrum of different cars for teams to choose from. Cars I personally find more attractive-looking than cars from most other racing classes. In fact, the only race I ever visited was a GT3 event. Up close they really look (and sound!) brutal.
Lately though, the well is running a bit dry. Currently, the BMW M4 GT3 is the only known new upcoming GT3 car. Most manufacturers have opted to develop ‘EVO’-packages for their existing GT3 cars. Combine the lack of new GT3 cars with a reduced manufacturer support in the current Covid-19 era of racing, and with the iron law of oligarchy and a lack of variety of cars emerges.
Fortunately for us, car manufacturers don’t stop making sportscars begging to be made into a GT3 spec racecar. In this post I will pick 5 which I think deserve to be at the top of the list for a future GT3 spec version!
Lotus Emira (2022)
Lotus as a brand has a racing pedigree many brands would be jealous of. Known for its Formula 1 programme that won multiple championships from the 60s to the 80s, Lotus has been largely absent from the racing scene barring some occasional track toys.
In Lotus’ history there’s only ever been one officialy GT3 homologated car, the Exige GT3 (#GT3-014), raced privately by Angelo Lazzaris between 2008-2011.
Lotus’ new owners, the Chinese megacorporation Geely, have invested heavily in Lotus. The 2022 Emira is the first product of this investment. To many racing fans, Chinese car companies are yet to be taken seriously. This could entice Geely to order Lotus make a GT3 version of this car to show the world that they are ready to compete in the world of racing. A move to make a GT3 homologated car would be an easy first step. A no-brainer.
What a potential Emira GT3 will look like? Well, admire my doodled version of the car in GT3 trim!
- Likelihood: medium
Ferrari F8 Tributo (2020)
This one is not a question of if, but when. The Ferrari F8 Tributo is the follow-up to the Ferrari 488 GTB. Ferrari currently races the 2020 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo in (among others) the GT World Challenge. The Evo meaning Evoluzione, with it being an evolution of the 2016 Ferrari 488 GT3 (both are #GT3-044).
The 488 itself is an updated version of the 2009 Ferrari 458 (#GT3-029), meaning the chassis the car is largely based on is nearly 12 years old. It’s about time Ferrari create a new GT3, which will most likely be based on this F8 Tributo.
On the question of ‘when’: the Ferrari 488 started production in 2015 whereas the GT3 version was introduced in 2016. If this is a trend, we might see an introduction of the F8 GT3 at the end of this year (2021) with the Ferrari F8 Tributo having been in production since 2020.
Another doodled version depicts what a future GT3-version of the Ferrari F8 might look like:
- Likelihood: high
Alfa Romeo GTV (2022?)
The Alfa Romeo GTV is a rumoured coupe version of the Alfa Romeo Giulia which might see the light in 2021. Alfa too is no stranger to racing. It’s racing heritage reaches far before WWII, and continuing after: Alfa won 6 of the 7 races in Formula 1’s maiden season.
Alfa also meddled with sportscars in the 60’s and some rallying, before doubling down on their entries into Touring cars first in DTM after which it transitioned to the WTCC. Even now, Alfa is succesfully entering its Giulietta hatchback in TCR, WTCC’s successor series.
Alfa Romeo never entered into GT racing. One of the greatest missed opportunities in racing history is the lack of a track version of the 8C Competizione. I mean, the car even has ‘competition’ in its name, but it never saw competitive action. Ferrari’s meddling probably had something to do with that.
Now that Ferrari has been granted more independence from the new EXOR financial construction, brands like Maserati and Alfa Romeo have been given more freedom from Ferrari’s tiranny. I’m not saying it is a likely result, but a GT3 version of the rumoured coupe Giulia would be an awesome addition to the future GT3 field.
And what that will look like? Well, admire my doodle below.
Nissan 400Z (2022)
Nissan has been a regular competitor in GT3 racing, with their GT-R model. This started in the GT1 era, which later saw a continuation in GT3. The GT-R model has had two homologations: #GT3-030 in 2015 and #GT3-048 in 2018. Unfortunately for Nissan (and us), the 2018 Nismo GT-R proved unpopular among teams. It is currently not in use in any GT3 classes in Europe, which is a shame.
The Nissan 400Z might be an interesting option for Nissan to create a future GT3 model. Previously, Nissan used the 350Z to race in the Japanese Super GT series in both GT500 (silhouette) and GT300 (GT3-ish) classes.
With the GT-R having failed to make a lasting impression, Nissan might want to turn a new leaf (heh) and use a different car as a basis for their future GT3 racing program.
Size-wise, a GT4 version of the 400Z would make more sense. But, with a widebody-kit the 400Z proto could be made to look like a proper GT3. I took a shot at one in the doodle below!
- Likelihood: low
Maserati MC20 (2022)
Maserati’s racing heritage shows a lot of parallels to Alfa Romeo. It too stretches back to the interbellum. It too had a lot of success in early Formula 1. Both did sports cars, touring cars and dabbled with Rally racing at some point. But, whereas Alfa Romeo doubled down on touring cars, Maserati went all in on sports car racing.
The predecessor to the MC20 was the Maserati MC12. This car was built on the Ferrari Enzo platform especially for racing purposes, most notably in the FIA GT championship as a GT1, GT3’s souped-up predecessor. In order to satisfy the homologation rules of the time, a road version had to be built as well which is still my favourite looking hypercar.
It would only be fitting if the MC20 would receive a track version as well. Maybe not up to GT3 specs but as a track toy, who knows. Fortunately for us, Maserati too has been given more independence now that Ferrari has become a separate EXOR entity, making it just a little bit more likely for it to ever happen.
The Maserati GranTurismo MC GT3 was the last GT3 racecar (#GT3-034), but it was built by a private team and never saw wide use. There was also a GT4 version of the car, based on the Trofeo Maserati cup-car which is included in the GT4 DLC for Assetto Corsa Competizione.
And yes, of course there’s a doodle for this one too!
- Likelihood: medium
Thanks for reading!
I hope you enjoyed reading this little article, which is mostly based on wishful thinking. There are no indications whatsoever that any of these cars will receive GT3 versions. But, while I nominate these 5 cars as prime candidates for a GT3 conversion, they certainly aren’t the only ones.
Which cars would you like to see as a GT3? Which do you think are most likely to happen, and which do you want to see most even knowing that it probably won’t happen? Let me know in a comment and I might doodle them for an eventual follow-up to this article!
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