Thursday, Dec 7 04:52pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

GT4 platform could be the future for New Zealand, says Sam Fillmore

A growing trend of GT4 homologated machinery could be the way forward for New Zealand according to sports car racer Sam Fillmore.

The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and New Zealand endurance racing regular recently returned from the United States of America where he drove at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas. There he raced in the 24H SERIES Powered by Hankook in a Porsche 911 991 GT3 Cup car.

Speaking with, Fillmore said he noticed an increasing presence of factory backed GT4 machinery at the event.

“When you look at Texas, there were a heap of factory GT4 teams there,” Fillmore said.

“Mercedes had four, BMW had their GT4s there. I think GT4 worldwide will be what people want to race.”

The spread of the GT4 platform, which is one step below GT3, in the last two years has seen an ever increasing presence by manufacturers. Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, McLaren, Audi, Aston Martin and several more marques all have their own factor backed efforts.

Fillmore said he believes the move for more GT4 machinery is largely around the financial viability for amateur drivers.

“I think a lot of that is because of cost. They’re a cool car the GT4. They look cool, but they’re obviously a lot slower [than a GT3] and half the price to run.

“I think what you’ll see is a big push towards Am/Am drivers racing together so they get to share the cost. If you look at the Super Trofeo Lamborghini Series over in Asia, they’re really focussed on Am/Am combinations—people like Danny [Stutterd] and I.

“People that want to share the cost of a race car for the weekend, but want to be racing against other amateurs not amatuer/pro pairings.”

GT4 machinery is slowly starting to creep into New Zealand too. Recently the Giltrap Group’s McLaren Auckland branch became the official Motorsport Dealer for the country.

Currently there are at least two McLaren 570S GT4s known to be in New Zealand and several more Porsche 911 GT4s as well.

Fillmore said a GT4-based championship in New Zealand could be viable as the cost of running a GT3 team is too great.

“I think it would be neat to see something like that in New Zealand, where you can go and buy a car together, maybe a new GT4, and do two hour long races.

“If you had a field of 20 cars, how cool would that be? Mercedes, Audi, Porsche, I think that could be the new racing series for New Zealand.

“They’re just more simple to run than a GT3 car. You need a team of 15 guys and a lot of them are engineers. Whereas the Porsche we rolled out in Texas we had five experienced guys who take it out of the box and its ready to go and doesn’t miss a beat.

“They’re still fast cars. No doubt about it, the GT3 cars are special cool cars to drive, but they’re just expensive.”