What is the FIA GT3 European Championship ?

This Championship was launched in December 2005 and has very quickly grown to be a great success, with 44 cars entered in the first season in 2006, and 50 in 2007. The GT3 cars have also moved into a number of national Championships, in many as the main category. GT3 cars remain close to their road-car origins, making them less expensive to build and to run. The Championship is based on an innovative concept in the form of a ‘Cup of Cups’ with limited numbers of each make allowed to take part. As well as an overall team and drivers classifications, there are separate classifications for each make, with the winner of each Cup being invited to the podium to receive a Manufacturer’s award, while the FIA GT3 European Championship trophies will be given to the overall race winners. Entry is reserved for non-professional drivers, with drivers divided into four categories : Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze, with the final decision concerning eligibility lying with the GT Bureau. Platinum drivers, who are classified as professional drivers, may not take part in the FIA GT3 European Championship. Gold category drivers may only compete with a Bronze category driver.

Which cars are taking part ? What are the technical regulations ?

Aston Martin DBRS9, Corvette Z06R GT3, Viper Competition Coupé, Ferrari 430 Scuderia, Lamborghini Gallardo GT3, Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S, Ford GT, Morgan Aero Super Sport, Jaguar XKR-S and new for 2009, the Audi R8 LMS and BMW Alpina B6 GT3.  This means eleven different manufacturers are represented on the 2009 FIA GT3 European Championship grid.  Rather than specific technical regulations, the cars are homologated by the FIA after completion of extensive technical documentation. The performance of the cars is balanced by the use of various methods, including weight penalties, ride height and hard tyres.

New for 2009. 
Teams may choose between tyre manufacturers.  This year three teams have elected to start the season with Pirelli and seventeen have decided to use Michelin. 

Success ballast.  Also new for the 2009 season, cars finishing in the top 3 in each race will have success ballast added.  Cars finishing outside the top three will have success ballast gradually removed.

Is GT3 part of the FIA GT Championship ?

This is not a new class in the FIA GT Championship, which continues to be reserved for GT1 and GT2 cars. However, GT3 cars may compete in the G3 category of the FIA GT Championship on a non-championship basis. The cars are also eligible in many national GT Championships, including the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, the ADAC GT Masters in Germany, the Belgian GT Championship MVD, the FFSA French GT3 Championship and the Brazilian GT3 Championship in South America.

What are the sporting regulations ?

Each team must enter two cars of the same make, with two drivers per car. The cars take part in two one-hour free practice sessions. Each driver takes part in one qualifying session : the lower-classified driver in each pairing takes part in the first session and starts the first race, with the higher classified driver taking part in the second session and starting the second race. The races are one-hour long, with a rolling start, and a compulsory driver change between the 23th and 37th minutes.

Is this a Manufacturer's Championship

The GT3 Championship is aimed exclusively at gentlemen drivers and customer relation departments.  Manufacturers will not be directly involved other than providing spare parts and selling cars.

What criteria are used to exclude professional drivers ?

The Championship is intended primarily for private teams and non-professional drivers. All drivers wishing to compete in the FIA GT3 Championship must send their record of race results to the GT Bureau, who will draw up a list of drivers per category. The categories are defined as follows:
A (or Platinum)
A professional driver generally recognised as a well-known driver on the international scene, under the age of 55, and satisfying at least one of the following criteria:

• has held a Super Licence (for Formula One),
• has won the Le Mans 24 Hours outright,
• has been a Works Driver, paid by a car manufacturer;
• has finished in the top 10 in the general classification in F3000, CART/Champcar, IRL or GP2;
• has finished in the top 6 in the general classification of an F3 international series (British/EuroF3) or major international singleseater Championship (Example : Nissan World Series)
• is a driver whose performances and achievements, despite not being covered by one of the definitions above, may be considered as professional by the Bureau.

B (or Gold)
A semi-professional driver in international series or who has distinguished himself in national Championships and satisfying at least one of the following criteria:

• driver satisfying the criteria of the A category (platinum) but aged 55 to 59;
• has finished in the top 3 in the general classification of a secondary international singleseater series (A1 GP, Renault V6, FR2000 international…);
• has finished in the top 3 in the general classification of a national single-seater series (F3, FR2000…);
• has won an entry level single-seater series (FFord, F-BMW, F-Zip, Autosport Academy…);
• has finished in the top 3 in the general classification of the Porsche Supercup;
• has won a national or international series organised by a manufacturer (Porsche, Seat, Peugeot, Renault...);
• is a driver whose performances and achievements, despite not being covered by one of the definitions above, may be considered as Gold by the Bureau.

C (or Silver)

An amateur driver satisfying at least one of the following criteria:
• driver aged under 30 and not satisfying the criteria of categories A (Platinum) and B (Gold).
• driver satisfying the criteria of the platinum category but aged 60 or over;
• driver who has finished in 1st place in the general classification of national Championships or international series in association with a professional driver;
• driver who has won a non-professional drivers’ series (Ferrari Challenge, Maserati Trophéo, Lamborghini Supertrophy…);
• driver who has competed in a single seater-series for a full season.

D (or Bronze)
An amateur driver.  Any driver who was over 30 years old when his first licence was issued, and who has little or no single-seater experience.