Global Touring Car Series promises fans a return to real racing values with a worldwide network of championships
Motorsport should inspire, drive the imagination and fuel the passion of its followers. It should also be a viable business opportunity, free of red tape and muddied regulations for competitors and investors alike. This is the view of Global Touring Cars, which is launching a new motorsport series that is a return to the competitive bare bones of racing: fierce competition, exciting 500bhp V8-powered cars, a proven and clearly defined package without the traditional barriers to entry of uncertain budgets and internal politics.
“Racing at the top level is often seen as a compromised mix of technology wars and team orders, and an expensive pastime for well-backed hobbyists on the tiers below. What the Global Touring Car (GTC) Series aim to provide is thrilling racing for true motorsport fans, and an opportunity for franchise investors to make money from a proven race series concept,” explains executive director Mark Woolley. The series is the brainchild of managing director, established racer Gary Formato, racing engineer Vic Maharaj and Woolley, with the backing of chairman, entrepreneur Michael Formato.
“We want to bring the focus back on serious affordable racing,” says Woolley. “We can offer a readymade national series with rules, regulations, commercial rights assistance, prize funds, structure and homologated cars with everything but the bodyshell complete – it just requires buy-in from teams and franchise owners who have identified this is a viable way of making money from motorsport. Global Touring Cars does not aim to compete with any existing Touring Car series, but to create a new niche in the market. This is through the combination of the design of the GTC car and our desire to create a network of GTC franchises.”
The series, which already has its first franchise signed in South Africa for a 2014 start, offers businesses an opportunity to buy into a franchise that provides everything needed to run a national championship. The purchase of a franchise allows the owner overall control to run the Global Touring Car championship in their country, and the freedom to explore commercial revenue streams and seek buy-in of individual teams.
“We are introducing a revolutionary concept to global motorsport that is an exciting opportunity not only for racing fans, but sponsors and franchise owners, too,” says managing director, Gary Formato. “The purchase price and cost of running a GTC car will be significantly less than most serious touring cars currently racing in established series, but without compromising on performance, looks or build quality – we are not aware of another Touring Car series currently running 500bhp V8 engines in compact, mid-sized saloon car bodies. These factors make participation extremely attractive for potential promoters and teams, who may ultimately attract the interest of motor manufacturers’ participation, in addition to corporate sponsorship, and especially with the fan-orientated atmosphere created at the events designed to drive interest. With an increasing following at races, the series will grow in popularity and backing, driving future profitability and opening wider potential revenue streams for a sustainable and viable financial investment.”
Once the licence fee is paid to GTC, the franchises keep all revenue until substantial profits are being made through entry fees and commercial opportunities, including TV rights and sponsorship. Support for the ongoing development of the series is extensive – consultancy can also be provided in the securing of potentially extensive and lucrative sponsorship. The concept opens up motorsport as a financial tool for companies that would not normally be in a position to commit to running either a race series or competitive team, either due to a lack of resources or specialised expertise. This way, the GTC team can either take a back seat or be as hands-on as is required by the individual franchises.
“We want to focus our efforts on securing franchise partners in emerging motorsport markets, because the GTC offering gives our partners a very real opportunity to participate in a globally relevant motorsport series, but with all the cost benefits of running a national level series,” says Woolley. “However, we are pleased to see the exciting cars which are affordable to purchase and run, and the offer to franchise partners has attracted the attention of interested parties in developed markets, too. Wherever a GTC franchise may develop, our aim is to build a loyal and fanatical supporter base by making spectators feel included and central to the action; allowing time in the pits and paddock to look at the cars and speak to the drivers. Weekend-long events will create a festival atmosphere inspired by adrenalin-fuelled racing that combines the excitement of single-marque competition with the spectacle of touring cars.”
Competing will be 500bhp, V8-powered spaceframed race cars designed by Australian-based Paul Ceprnich. Fitted with sequential-shift gearboxes, the cars will be uniform across the series. However, the bodyshell fitted is entirely up to the teams and the spaceframe has been designed to accept Original Equipment body panels based on versions of most saloon or hatchback-sized vehicles on the market. Eight-cylinder, rear-wheel drive versions of everyday cars is a reality.
“Inclusiveness is vital to the ongoing success of the GTC Series,” explains Woolley, “and that is why we are unique in our achievement: offering a one-stop shop of cars, championship backing with regulations, format and contractors all in place for franchise owners. We have formulated the series to ensure that barriers to entry are far fewer, and those which remain are much easier to overcome. The level playing field that our regulations provide encourages great competition between teams, who fight for efficiency, and drivers, who can pit their skills against one another in genuinely exciting cars. Not only are the costs less prohibitive and the teams’ route to the start line less convoluted, but franchise owners have an opportunity to build a highly successful business and be part of a growing concern worldwide.”
Although series will be nationally run, as the franchises expand globally, leading teams and drivers will ultimately have the opportunity to compete in a World Cup event for a cash prize. Driven by a passion for and belief in accessible, competitive motorsport, and fuelled by a proven business strategy, the Global Touring Car Series heralds a welcome return to the roots of competitive circuit racing.