Today, the new North American GT racing series, UltimateGT has announced that it will support three separate formats for competition in 2016 including a Time Attack format, 2-hour event, and 4-hour endurance race. This is the biggest news for the series after previously being featured on the Slipstream Podcast.
First of the three formats, the UltimateGT X series, or UGT X, pits competition against the clock to lay down the best time of the weekend. It’s Time Attack meets old-school knock-out qualifying a la Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Based on engine displacement, the field will be split into four baseline UGT X Groups: up to 2.5L, 2.6L to 3.6L, 3.7 to 5.7L, and 5.8L plus. Each group will have a 20-competitor limit. Teams will experience practice, qualifying, and competition. A Bump Session will eliminate the competition down to a “Fast Ten” per group. After combining two groups, the fastest competitors will be pitted against the clock for the GTX Challenge, the final UGT X session of the weekend. Points will be awarded per classes and tally to a national champion at the series end.
UltimateGT 2 will feature a split format of two 1-hour races back to back. With practice, qualifying, and the twin races, entries will see plenty of track time. Entries will be divided into UGT 2 Groups in a similar format to UGT X Groups, based on displacement. Points are awarded for finishing position in group per entry, not driver. This will allow entries to be share between up to two drivers, one per race. After the regular season, one entry will be crowned champion above the competition.
The final format announced was UltimateGT 4, a 4-hour endurance race pitting the best teams and machines against one another. Teams will be racing during the regular season across the U.S. in multiple strategically chosen geographic rounds to allow shops and drivers of all backgrounds to participate. The season will conclude with a 6-hour finale event that teams must qualify for through the regular season rounds, resulting in one champion after the event. Entries will be allowed up to 5 drivers, with one driver allowed to be considered “professional”. The series announced that groups in UGT 4 will be based on qualifying into four groups, which will allow for teams of all backgrounds (and budgets) to be a part of the competition.
Each format features a slightly different requirement for vehicle setup. Baseline safety protocols will be utilized in each class to ensure a safe event. In all formats, engines will have to be of the same manufacturer as the race car and all machines must use the original unibody structure as manufactured. UGT X will feature open tire use and sizing while UGT 2 will feature a single supplier for tires. UGT 2 and UGT 4 events will feature machinery of 10 years old or newer, with UGT 4 encouraging teams to show off their creativity and engineering knowledge to build and race the best GT cars.
UltimateGT is attempting to set up a racing series with opportunities for all levels of drivers, teams, and crews. With the multiple geographically diverse regular-season rounds, teams from various budgets will hopefully be able to make it out to the track. The series also touts up to 8 hours of on-track time for UGT X, 7 hours for UGT 2, and 10 hours for UGT 4. If the series plays their cards right with winnings and entry fees, we could see the best value in GT racing this year.
More information is expected to be released through the coming weeks as we have yet to learn of the entire staff behind the series as well as dates for each event. Stay tuned to Slipstream Network to stay in the know for UltimateGT. To find out more about UltimateGT, UGT X, UGT 2, and UGT 4, visit the series website at UltimateGT.net.