Home' Supercar Xtra : Jun Jul 2016 Issue 93 Contents AGT ON VASC INTERVIEW WITH KEN COLLIER
AUSTRALIAN GT MANAGER
"The innovation, the R&D, the design work. We have
19 separate departments in our race team and we take
kids out of university and give them jobs at the elite
Follow the money and plenty of the cash Supercars
teams spend stays within the category, too.
It's not a long drive from Braeside to Moorabbin,
where you will find Erebus Motorsport. Team owner
Betty Klimenko has a foot in both caps, running a
pair of Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the Australian GT
Championship, as well as campaigning in Supercars
since 2013, first with AMG Mercedes-Benz and from
this year Holden VF Commodores. Chief executive
Barry Ryan presents the opposing view to Kelly and
has done publicly for a while.
"If manufacturers are what we want and need, then
eventually we are going to have to go GT3," he says.
In practical terms, Ryan believes racing a GT3 car
for a season would be cheaper than a Supercar. Yes,
the GT3 cars are expensive to buy, but they are also
designed to run 20,000km between engine rebuilds,
whereas Supercars engines are rebuilt after 3500-
4000km. And from his point of view cutting back staff
is preferable to shutting the doors because you can no
longer afford to race.
"Your parts bill might go up because you re going to
buy more stuff, but your staff bill is going to go down
and that's the part that accounts for around 60 per
cent of your budget."
He concedes the point about GT3 being a different
type of racing, where drivers can't run into each other
so much or ride the kerbs the way softer Supercars do,
but he believes that simply means the drivers would
have to adjust.
"They would simply have to drive them more con-
servatively," he says.
Ryan also makes the point that damage bills can be
reduced if the category can get permission to swap
the expensive and fragile raw carbon-fibre panels for
E-glass, which has reduced the cost of Supercars racing
"You could make them more robust," he says. "I
can't see why the manufacturers wouldn't agree to
that because the performance equivalence would still
be the same."
But Ryan's perspective receives short shrift from Car
of the Future project boss Mark Skaife, the five-times
champion and six-times Bathurst winner. He argues
the competitive instinct present within Supercars
teams would guarantee an escalation in cost as engi-
neers sought development advantages.
"That's a flawed model because at the moment GT3
is not contested at the highest level here," says Skaife.
"You get Triple Eight to do it and all of a sudden
there will be 40 blokes working on it."
So what's the bottom-line in this debate? Surely, for
the foreseeable future that Supercars are here to stay
and so is GT3.
Instead of worrying about that, how about we just
enjoy more good, interesting racing across a bunch of
different categories. Like we used to.
Is GT3's rising popularity a threat
"GT3 racing is growing in participa-
tion levels and spectator interest in
many countries and this is also the
case for Australia. The Supercars
championship is not under any
threat from GT3 as we are not
looking to replace it, nor is there
the level of spectator and sponsor
support for GT3, which Supercars
Why is GT3 attracting more
"The manufacturer support for
GT3 is coming from a global brand-
ing perspective and not just a local
market focus. Also, the manufactur-
ers of GT3 cars actually build the
race cars, sell them to customers and
then support them with parts and
technical assistance. The Supercars
manufacturer support in recent years
has pretty much been to just tip
money in as a branding exercise."
Is Australia too small a market to
"There is more than enough room
for Supercars and GT3 in Australia.
They are two different categories
and have totally different structures.
James Warburton has already stated
publically that part of dropping
the 'V8' from his brand is to allow
'moving from a category to more of a
holistic sport' and this is good for all
of us who are involved in Australian
Could VASC ever embrace a GT3
"Supercars have already announced
their long-term intentions with
Gen3. I know they could swing in
the wind and change it if it is not
embraced, however the genuine
GT3 race cars which are eligible
to run with the Australian GT
Championship and the Australian
Endurance Championship are not
eligible for any other category."
Are the two series now competing
"The Bathurst 12 Hour is a great
event and now that Supercars are
running it we hope it will grow. The
local GT3 teams certainly embrace
the event and whilst the interna-
tional numbers were a bit less this
year, we think they will be back in
Is Gen2 too close to the GT3
"Gen2 is a stepping-stone to Gen3,
we assume, as the interest in Gen2
is not evident. If someone can
explain what Gen2 and Gen3 actu-
ally means, then let us all know.
From the little public clarity there
is, Gen2 is based on the current
chassis and control components
which is completely the opposite
to GT3 which is all based around
individual manufacturers. GT3
performance is controlled through
a technical BoP system and not by
making the cars all the same with
"The AGT business will continue
to be owned by Tony Quinn and we
will continue to grow the category
to match the demands of the teams
who compete with us. We will main-
tain our alliance with Supercars in
terms of event participation and the
economics of combined operations
and logistics effort.
"GT3 racing will be enhanced with
the Supercar teams expanding their
businesses by having GT3 customer
support programs alongside their
Supercar efforts however, they must
conform to our regulations or it just
won't work for them."
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