The Difference Between GT4, GT3 and GTE
It's no secret that GT racing is some of the most exciting racing in the world. There really is nothing better than seeing modified supercars duking it out on a track with absolutely no mention of politics. However, - like Formula racing - there are many classes to GT and the differences aren't plainly obvious, so I've slapped together this handy guide.
At the lower end of the GT pecking order lives GT4. These machines are based on road going supercars and are sold to customer teams worldwide for them to use as they please. The main aspect that sets GT4 apart from its "3" and "E" sisters is the aerodynamics. GT4s have significantly reduced wings, splitters and diffusers compared to GT3 and GTE. Another difference is the power they produce. Obviously, having 500+HP in a race car that doesn't have the downforce to keep it glued to the track is a completely brainless idea, so the engines in GT4s are detuned to around the 400±HP mark. That's (roughly) a 100HP difference to GT3, and a 250HP deficit to GTE.
A well known fact is that GT3 is one of the most popular classes of race cars in the world. They compete in domestic and international series the world over and race on nearly ever circuit you can name. Back to my GT pecking order now, GT3 sits slap bang in the middle and is the best of both worlds. You get to enjoy the aesthetic of silly wings and diffusers you can live under without having too much dirty air from the car ahead. On average, a GT3 car will have 500HP and will utilise Balance of Performance (BoP) to keep the field close. Balance of Performance works by adding or removing ballast, or changing the amount of power the engine can deliver. BoP often causes a stir amongst drivers as changes can be made after qualifying, this means a car that was extremely quick in quali can be altered to be slower in the race. Going back to the silly wings I mentioned earlier, GT3 cars develop significantly more downforce that their GT4 counterparts. The Nissan GT-R GT3 is claimed to produce 1,000KG of downforce above 200KPH. Personally, I think this figure is a bit too high, but that is the figure Nissan claim.
Now for the most potent GT racers around (other than Super GT). GTE cars only race in two series currently, the WEC and IMSA, but what the lack in exposure they make up for in awesomeness. By quite a margin, GTE cars are the most powerful of the three, the Ferrari 488 GTE Evo produces a fairly handy 650HP. In addition, GTE cars are extremely slippery in a straight line. As a result, at this year's Le Mans GTE cars were easily surpassing the 300KPH barrier and some going further beyond. Despite being the highest tier of GT racing, GTEs don't produce as much downforce as GT3s purely so they can reach those stupidly high speeds at Le Mans. Whilst I'm at it, GTEs also have less driver aids than GT3s and 4s. This is counter intuitive, because GTE cars race for longer distances so you'd think they should have more driver aids, but they don't. GTEs have to make do without ABS unlike GT3 and 4 cars, at least they got Traction Control.
Well there you go, a slightly ropey guide to the differences between GT4, GT3 and GTE.
Thank you very much for reading and I hope you enjoyed!
-Joseph Le Corre-