How fast is F1 compared to IndyCar, WEC, Super Formula and more
Right, time to settle some arguments. Where do the world’s and UK’s leading categories stack up on lap time? Here’s our take on it, using data from 2021
This all started from us being irritated. Back in 2016, the first time Autosport undertook a project to rank the world’s major categories based on lap time, the impetus came from the annoying crowing of a cluster of so-called motorsport authorities that LMP1 cars from the World Endurance Championship were faster than Formula 1 machinery. Not that we dislike the WEC – far from it, we love it – but such pompous proclamations were plainly untrue.
Then this was overtaken by a genuine curiosity to find out where LMP1 stacked up against GP2, IndyCar and Japan’s Super Formula. And how did all the other classes compare? Six years on, we thought it was time to do it again. In 2016, we did our calculations based on data from the 2015 season. So here’s our take on 2021…
How did we do it?
The starting point is F1. There’s no question that it’s the fastest category in the world. Therefore, it automatically assumes an index of 100.000, with everything else measured against that. The first task was to take F1’s fastest qualifying times at each circuit from 2021. Here, with F1’s multi-phase qualifying, it’s important to factor in the times from Q1 and Q2 in addition to the Q3 pole shootout. We did the same with IndyCar and Super Formula, among others.
The first – and biggest – of what we might call data clusters comes from the well-used European circuits. The prominent European-based categories tend to race at Barcelona, Paul Ricard, Red Bull Ring, Zandvoort, Monza and Spa – and, to a lesser extent, Hungaroring, Imola and Portimao. We were therefore able to gather reams of stats from all those predominantly single-seater and sportscar championships from these circuits.
You might be thinking that last year’s Belgian GP washout means there is no possibility of any data being gathered from Spa. But we’ve been careful not to compare those categories simply against F1; it’s important to make cross-comparisons between all of them, to maximise our confidence that our table is accurate. There were therefore tons of useable data from Spa. By the time we’d finished with the European-based series, we had thousands of figures to complete the job.
The plethora of series that visit the same circuits worked as the starting point for data-gathering
Photo by: Erik Junius
The effect of COVID
Even back in 2016, once we ventured outside Europe with our stats we were relying on what we call data hinges. For example, the visits of F1 and the WEC to the Circuit of The Americas and Japan were critical in our ability to measure up the North American and Japanese series to their European counterparts.
This time, COVID-19 threatened to scupper all that, with few championships venturing outside their home continents or islands, so we had to get cunning. Yes, there was a US GP at CoTA last season, but there was no IndyCar or IMSA SportsCar round there…
All we had to go on from CoTA was F1’s W Series and US F4 support races, a Formula Regional Americas round at the same venue a couple of weeks later, and a NASCAR Cup round from the spring. This was clearly insufficient data on which to base our ranking of North America’s main series.
Galloping to our rescue came… the Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Finals. With the North American series visiting Misano to race with its European counterpart, we had the ideal comparison, especially since the North American qualifying time was just 0.014 seconds slower than the European. By placing the European Lambo series at the end of our data chain from the continent, we were able to get as accurate an index as possible, then apply an almost identical index to the North American version and work backwards from there.
With the North American Super Trofeo predominantly an IMSA support series, we began by working through IMSA’s GTD and GT Le Mans classes, and then into the prototype divisions (we had to include free practice here, because in some classes it’s the amateur driver who qualifies). Now we had a decent range of data to be confident about venturing into IndyCar, the Road to Indy support championships, the US’s other open-wheel series and then NASCAR (via its road-course races).
We had to be cleverer with Japan. Since COVID struck, not a single series from outside has entered the country. No F1, no WEC, not even the Suzuka 10 Hours Intercontinental GT round. The closest Japanese series in concept to F1 is, of course, Super Formula, so we had to use data from 2019 (the last pre-COVID season) as our basis, and work back from there to compare the 2021 stats.
This gave us our Japanese hinge, and what we found next with Super Formula Lights convinced us that we were on the right track. Both SFL and Euroformula Open use the Dallara 320, the car produced by the Italian company to keep alive the philosophy of what many single-seater fans call ‘proper’ F3. We expected the Yokohama tyres used in SFL to be similar in performance to the Michelins from EFO, and guess what: the SFL index we calculated was within 0.2 of EFO. We were therefore confident to work through the other Japanese single-seater categories and onto the SUPER GT series.
Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Finals at Misano provided invaluable insight to gauge US series against F1
Photo by: Lamborghini Super Trofeo
The isolated outposts
COVID or not, South America and Australia/New Zealand have always posed problems, and the response of the down under nations to the pandemic made life even harder for us. We couldn’t rely on the F1 2019/2021 solution we used for our Japanese problem.
Suzuka is a very representative circuit on which to compare categories, but Melbourne’s Albert Park isn’t, because we’d already found that street circuit data from Europe and North America provided outliers and was capable of skewing the stats. So it wasn’t a simple matter of doing the same with Australia’s Supercars F1 support round from the 2019 GP as we’d done with Super Formula.
Again, here we had a saviour. The 2020 Bathurst 12 Hour round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge took place shortly before lockdown. With that series pretty much identical to the GT World Challenge Europe (indeed, the Spa 24 Hours counts for both), we were able to use the pole time from its Bathurst race and then use Mount Panorama times as the basis for a 2019 Aussie Supercars index (we chose 2019 because the Bathurst 12H was closer to the end of that season than the start of the delayed 2020), then set the 2021 Supercars stats against 2019 (almost identical, as you’d expect).
The 2019 Supercars data came in handy for NZ’s Toyota Racing Series too. Like the Bathurst 12 Hour, the 2020 TRS was completed just before lockdown, and we were able to calculate an index thanks to data from Pukekohe, which featured on the 2019 Supercars calendar. And bingo: it gave TRS 2020 an index a fraction ahead of the 2021 Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, which is exactly what we’d expect. However, TRS 2021, with NZ inaccessible and the series contested by small grids of local drivers, dropped it a tad behind its European equivalent.
In South America, the only hinge available was via the Brazilian V8 Stock Car series’ visit to Interlagos, so here we got a comparison to F1. But what about Argentina’s Super TC2000 equivalent? Here, the new TCR South America series was our friend. We were able to compare TCR’s Brazilian rounds against V8 Stock Cars, and found that the TCR series dropped in narrowly behind our index for TCR Europe – again, that was as we expected. We were therefore able to get an index for Super TC2000 based on how it matched up against TCR South America at the Argentinian circuits.
And lastly… the UK. Several years ago, most of the major European championships visited these shores. But a combination of COVID and Brexit has slashed our enjoyment of international motorsport to the British GP (plus F2 and W Series supports), GTWCE on the Brands GP circuit and the NASCAR Euro Series at Brands Indy. Luckily, GB3 and British GT ventured to Spa, but we had a far smaller data cluster to work from for the main UK series than we had six years ago.
F1 veteran Rubens Barrichello is a staple of the Brazilian Stock Car series, one of few South American championships that could easily be compared to F1
Photo by: Duda Bairros
The electric question
Six years ago, Formula E was still pretty young and all we had to go on was testing times from Donington, since none of its street circuits were used by any other racing series. Now we have the benefit of data from its round on the full Monaco circuit – except for what we can only regard as an ego-driven decision to make a small alteration to the harbour chicane to prevent a direct comparison with petrol categories.
Enquiries in the FE paddock suggested that this slowed the cars by “about half a second to a second”, so we’ve lopped 0.750s from the fastest Monaco FE qualifying time in 2021, then compared it to the respective Monaco performances of F1, F2, FRegional and the Porsche Supercup to produce our index.
The new-for-2021 Pure ETCR electric touring car series gave us more of a headache, not least because the sister World Touring Car Cup visited so few circuits used by other categories in our table. All we had to go on for WTCR was comparison with several series at the Hungaroring, and against Euro NASCAR at Most. The Sochi round was useless to match against F1, F2 and F3 because of bad weather. Still, WTCR came out just behind the BTCC’s indigenous NGTC formula, which is what we predicted.
With that sorted, we then had the conundrum of Pure ETCR, and here we had to get very imaginative. We only had the Hungaroring and Pau-Arnos to go on for comparison purposes, using the data from the high-power Time Trial phase of each round. The Time Trial starting gates at each circuit were situated in sector three, therefore elongating sector one on the timing data. But it was possible to calculate a notional Time Trial lap time on a ‘conventional’ lap by delving into the best sector times from the high-power and lower-power laps. Simple!
The Pure ETCR series' visit to the Hungaroring was one of few opportunities to compare that series against F1
Photo by: Pure ETCR
What we found
In 2016, Super Formula narrowly won the race for second place in our table with an index of 105.780, from IndyCar (106.014), LMP1 (107.188), GP2 (108.114) and the old Formula Renault 3.5 (110.674). This time, only Super Formula comes in below 113 (quite comfortably, on 109.612).
The reasons for this are numerous. At the time of our previous survey, IndyCar teams were using their ugly manufacturer aero kits. The introduction of the universal aero kit for 2018 made the cars prettier, but slowed them down a touch. The old GP2’s replacement by the new Formula 2 Dallara in 2019 continued the trend of FIA-endorsed single-seater championships getting heavier and heavier – see also Formula Regional instead of the old F3 and Formula Renault.
The introduction of Le Mans Hypercars in 2021 in place of LMP1 was designed to place the top division of endurance racing just ahead of LMP2, and this is exactly what happened. As a result, the LMH category falls in not only behind IMSA’s Daytona Prototype international division (which is dropped at the end of 2022), but both come up short of Japan’s SUPER GT.
Back in 2016, SUPER GT was behind Indy Lights and the old GP3, yet now it has leapt forward to fifth overall. A national GT championship is ahead of all the world’s flagship prototype classes… Japan, indeed, does extremely well, with the introduction of the new Dallara SF19 Super Formula car for 2019 in place of the outgoing SF14 raising performance in its flagship single-seater category.
But the biggest reason for the gulf between F1 and the rest is… F1. Back in 2016, our use of 2015 data came when the current turbo-hybrid formula was still in its infancy. Furthermore, the rule changes for 2017 to encourage faster cars provided a massive step forwards: in that single season, F1 leapt forward to the tune of 2.913%. The main leap forward in the table comes from FE, which has closed the gap to F1, such has been its rate of progress.
The remainder you can see from our explainers in the main table below. So now, time to start getting some rest before working on our 2028 equivalent.
How each motorsport category compares
|Series||Percent||Lap Time - Minutes||Difference||Explanation|
|Formula 1||100||1m30s||-||Rules reset for 2017 provided great leap forward, widening the gap to the rest|
|Super Formula||109.612||1m38.650s||8.65||Spec Dallara chassis, but some freedom in development plus engine competition|
|IndyCar||113.315||1m41.983s||11.983||Reversion to universal aero kit caused loss of pace, but provided important cost savings|
|FIA Formula 2||115.563||1m44.006s||14.006||New car for 2018, and turbo engines, but it’s still slower than the GP2 that went before|
|SUPER GT||118.372||1m46.534s||16.534||Japan’s crowd-favourite series has tyre war and sophisticated cars with massive pace|
|IMSA Daytona Prototype international||119.139||1m47.225s||17.225||North America’s top-level sportscar contest uses LMP2 platform – and builds on that|
|WEC Le Mans Hypercar||119.386||1m47.447s||17.447||The WEC’s new flagship class is much slower than LMP1 – exactly as was intended|
|ELMS LMP2||120.779||1m48.701s||18.701||Hugely competitive in 2021, and fewer restrictions in Europe’s top-level sportscar series|
|WEC LMP2||121.824||1m49.641s||19.641||Artificially pegged back to allow the new Hypercars room to breathe at the front|
|Indy Lights||122.593||1m50.333s||20.333||Mazda-powered Dallara spec car sits probably the right distance behind IndyCar|
|IMSA LMP2||122.769||1m50.492s||20.492||Slower than its European equivalents, but then again the field isn’t as competitive|
|FIA Formula 3||123.18||1m50.862s||20.862||Basically it’s what used to be known as GP3, so no surprise to see it positioned here|
|Super Formula Lights||126.281||1m53.652s||23.652||Japan’s series for old F3 concept has slim grids, but does have Toyota/Honda proteges|
|Euroformula Open||126.456||1m53.810s||23.81||Same car as Super Formula Lights, but runs on Michelin tyres instead of Yokohamas|
|ELMS LMP3||129.603||1m56.642s||26.642||This class has come on in leaps and bounds. Strong fields and competitive racing|
|WEC GTE||130.388||1m57.349s||27.349||Basically a Porsche-versus-Ferrari battle in 2021; now living on borrowed time|
|IMSA LMP3||130.611||1m57.549s||27.549||As with LMP2, the field here doesn’t have the same depth as it has in Europe|
|Indy Pro 2000||130.763||1m57.686s||27.686||New Mazda-engined Tatuus was introduced in 2018. Good performance, not far off Lights|
|IMSA GT Le Mans||130.927||1m57.834s||27.834||Corvette had very little opposition in 2021, so where you’d expect compared to WEC GTE|
|Le Mans Cup LMP3||131.006||1m57.905s||27.905||Loses to ‘mother’ ELMS because amateurs qualify, so we’re going on pros in free practice|
|S5000||131.122||1m58.009s||28.009||Australia’s F5000-inspired series isn’t that fast, but who cares when it’s a V8 soundtrack?|
|Formula E||131.446||1m58.301s||28.301||Huge step forward from Gen1 to Gen2 machinery. Intriguing to ponder Gen3 prospects|
|European Formula Regional by Alpine||131.753||1m58.577s||28.577||Massively competitive and sits where you’d expect, halfway between FIA F3 and F4|
|Toyota Racing Series||131.893||1m58.703s||28.703||New Zealand series has slipped slightly with COVID forcing the internationals out|
|Japanese Formula Regional||132.505||1m59.254s||29.254||Yet to properly take off, but Alfa-powered Dome car impressively close to Euro equivalent|
|Asian Formula Regional||133.226||1m59.903s||29.903||Same chassis as Europe, but runs Alfa engine instead of Renault, and Chinese Giti tyres|
|GB3||133.338||2m00.004s||30.004||UK’s premier single-seater series could overtake FRegional with new 2022 machinery|
|ELMS GTE||133.399||2m00.059s||30.059||Doesn’t have the factory teams or all-pro line-ups of the WEC’s flagship GTE class|
|DTM||134.319||2m00.0887s||30.887||Went for its own BoP and Michelins in desperate bid to be fastest GT3 series. It succeeded!|
|International GT Open||134.731||2m01.257s||31.257||Much more amateur orientation for this GT3 series, but it does run on Michelins|
|Australian Supercars||135.055||2m01.549s||31.549||The indigenous Australian V8 series blows away its more humble European counterparts|
|IMSA GTD||135.283||2m01.754s||31.754||Michelins here too for IMSA’s version of GT3, but it’s generally the ams who qualify|
|Americas Formula Regional||135.531||2m01.977s||31.977||North American take on FRegional uses Honda engine in Ligier chassis. Still growing|
|GT World Challenge Europe||135.537||2m01.983s||31.983||Phenomenal banner series of GT3 founder SRO, but Pirellis have slowed it down a touch|
|ADAC GT Masters||135.709||2m02.138s||32.138||This German crowd-pleaser is almost identical to GTWCE, and also uses Pirellis|
|W Series||136.283||2m02.654s||32.654||Identical Tatuus-Alfa combo to FRegional Asia, but centrally run series lags behind|
|British GT GT3||136.405||2m02.764s||32.764||Not really any different to GTWCE, but this national series doesn’t have all-pro line-ups|
|Lamborghini Super Trofeo||136.987||2m03.288s||33.288||Fastest of the one-make GT sportscar series is nicely established as a GTWCE support|
|USF2000||138.012||2m04.210s||34.21||Bottom rung of Road to Indy ladder impressively sits ahead of European F4 equivalents|
|Porsche Supercup/German Carrera Cup||138.45||2m04.604s||34.604||F1-supporting and German series both used new 992, with similar pool of competitors|
|Italian/German Formula 4||138.662||2m04.795s||34.795||Same Tatuus-Abarth car, same Pirelli tyres, and largely the same frontrunning drivers|
|Spanish Formula 4||139.494||2m05.544s||35.544||Same car as Germany/Italy, but runs on Hankooks and drivers aren’t quite same calibre|
|GT2 European||139.843||2m05.858s||35.858||SRO’s new GT concept had its first season in 2021, and made a fairly quiet start|
|Porsche Carrera Cup GB||140.136||2m06.122s||36.122||Stayed with the previous-gen model for 2021, and quality not as high as Supercup|
|British Formula 4||141.992||2m07.792s||37.792||Mygale-Ford combo way behind Tatuus-Alfa. But GB has followed European lead for 2022|
|French Formula 4||142.168||2m07.951s||37.951||Same Mygale as Britain, but uses Renault engine. Centrally run, so it’s a decent showing|
|NASCAR Cup||142.932||2m08.638s||38.638||Multi-billion-dollar series looks bad here, but road courses aren’t its natural habitat…|
|Japanese Formula 4||143.499||2m09.149s||39.149||Has always had massive grids, but Dome-Toyotas don’t have pace of Euro equivalents|
|Argentinian Super TC2000||145.595||2m11.035s||41.035||New ORECA two-litre engine and reduction in aero trickery slowed series down in 2019|
|NASCAR Xfinity Series||145.713||2m11.141s||41.141||NASCAR’s second series is exactly where you’d expect it to be, and where it should be|
|Brazilian V8 Stock Cars||145.81||2m11.228s||41.228||Hugely entertaining and big-name drivers, even if the cars aren’t the fastest around|
|Ginetta GT4 Supercup||146.225||2m11.602s||41.602||BTCC’s second-string sportscar support comes out a whisker ahead of the main event|
|British Touring Car Championship||146.44||2m11.796s||41.796||NGTC regulations set BTCC apart from global tin-tops, but they work spectacularly well|
|World Touring Car Cup||147.132||2m12.418s||42.418||More production in orientation than NGTC, so you’d expect it to sit behind the BTCC|
|NASCAR Truck Series||148.454||2m13.608s||43.608||Third-level NASCAR contest is as close to Xfinity as Xfinity is to Cup, so nicely positioned|
|GT4 European Series||148.496||2m13.646s||43.646||Massive grids and huge intake of young drivers make this the GT entry-level place to be|
|TCR Europe||148.67||2m13.803s||43.803||Not far off FIA’s global series for the flagship TCR European series. Good competition here|
|Euro NASCAR Series||149.2||2m14.280s||44.28||Europe’s more-restricted version of NASCAR merrily goes its own way, but not very quick|
|British GT GT4||149.384||2m14.445s||44.445||Distance to the European equivalent is what you’d expect from a much smaller field|
|US Formula 4||149.767||2m14.790s||44.79||Enormous fields, but Crawford-Honda combo a long way adrift of other leading F4 series|
|Alpine Europa Cup||150.822||2m15.739s||45.739||Renault’s long-standing pan-European series is now targeted at early-career drivers|
|Pure ETCR||151.103||2m15.992s||45.992||Not too shabby a showing for the first year of the audacious electric tin-top initiative|
|Mini Challenge JCW||156.663||2m20.996s||50.996||Has taken over from Clios on the BTCC support package and sits in roughly same place|
|Ginetta Junior||176.932||2m39.238s||69.238||Entertaining BTCC support isn’t that quick, but makes up for that with the kids’ racing|
Drivers' View - Tom Blomqvist
Blomqvist races Meyer Shank Acura DPi in IMSA
Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images
The Kiwi-raised Anglo-Swede has moved into DPi’s ranks in IMSA this year with the Meyer Shank Racing Acura, winning January’s Daytona 24 Hours, after vying for the 2021 LMP2 class title in the World Endurance Championship. What does he make of DPi being ahead of Le Mans Hypercars?
“Not surprised. We’re basically like an LMP2 car but the old spec and more power – not as much power as the Hypercar, but way more downforce and lighter. And we’ve got good Michelin tyres, plus all the damping is quite sophisticated, so it’s got good suspension with third elements that control the rideheight. It’s like an ultimate LMP2 car, seriously quick and very enjoyable.”
WEC LMP2 cars fall in behind the European Le Mans Series equivalents.
“They pegged back the [WEC] P2 cars quite a lot last year [to ensure they were slower than LMH],” explains Blomqvist. “They took away power and added weight.” In WEC, they also had to run lighter on downforce: “At Le Mans you’d run that package, Spa you would run a bit more to be honest.” And definitely more at the other venues…
Blomqvist also has a read on Formula E from his time with NIO 333. This is a class that has made real progress since our last speed survey in 2016.
“The Gen2 car went from 200 to 250kW – that’s about 70bhp,” says Blomqvist. “And there are better tyres and so on. I’d say this is the most challenging car because it’s so different to what we grew up racing as kids and every other motorsport series out there.
“When you go testing, it doesn’t bring you the same satisfaction as a high-downforce car, but racing and the technical side bring you a lot of satisfaction. You don’t enjoy wringing its neck, but you have fun in the race!”
Drivers' View - Jake Hughes
Hughes stepped up to F2 with Van Amersfoort Racing this year, but has extensive experience across multiple single-seater classes below it
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
This veteran of the single-seater scene has extensive experience across the junior categories, and has at last been given a full-season shot in FIA Formula 2 with Van Amersfoort Racing.
“The F2 car is very heavy,” Hughes points out. “It feels very stiff now with the 18-inch tyres – kerbs are a noticeable shock. But it has a lot of aero, and the carbon brakes are very impressive. The difference between amazing and average is the tyre. If it had something less temperature-sensitive it would be impressive in medium and high-speed, but the tyre means you can’t use as much as you think you can, although the soft is very good for one lap.”
From the next level down, Hughes raced the Dallara F317 European F3 car from which the current 320 Euroformula Open machine evolved, and also has plenty of current-spec FIA F3 mileage under his belt.
“They produce lap time in the completely opposite way,” he says. “The European F3 was so impressive in corners and so light. Everybody who’s driven that car falls in love with it because you can just throw it around, and on the Michelin [currently used in EFO] its peak grip must be even more impressive. With the FIA F3, I’ve been on pole but didn’t feel it was an amazing lap. It’s a heavy car for what it is, and the tyre is limiting. If you could keep pushing on peak grip, you’d feel it was very good.”
In his earlier days, Hughes raced Formula Renault, and has also competed in its FRegional successor in Europe and Asia: “The Regional is heavy, a turbo engine with lag, not a lot of downforce. You have to be smooth and pre-emptive in your corrections. You feel like you have to underdrive it to get a time out of it.”
Drivers' View - Sacha Fenestraz
Fenestraz is a mainstay of Japan's two primary classes, Super Formula and Super GT
Photo by: Masahide Kamio
The amiable Frenchman and former Lando Norris housemate is hugely enjoying his career in Japan. COVID-19 immigration tribulations largely put the kybosh upon things of late, but he’s now back full-time in Super Formula with Kondo Racing and SUPER GT with TOM’S.
Fenestraz explains that although the Dallara SF19 single-seater is a spec car, there is engineering freedom:
“The bodywork and chassis are fixed, but you can have your own dampers, third elements, bump rubbers – that’s open. And on the engine side, Toyota and I’m sure Honda use Super Formula not only to keep the drivers driving, but secondly to use it as development for the SUPER GT engine [the same four-cylinder, two-litre turbo powerplants are used]. For them, Super Formula is not the most important championship – it’s all about SUPER GT.”
The Yokohama tyres used here are a key aspect of the pace, but could be quicker…
“The cars are so fast, so grippy, and the Japanese tyres are amazing,” enthuses Fenestraz. “But if we had Bridgestones [as used by TOM’S in the SUPER GT tyre war] we would be quicker.”
Fenestraz describes the GR Supra GT500 machine as “I think one of the hardest cars to drive in my career so far. You have to slide it a lot, and this tendency is really tricky. There is a lot of tyre development and we have a lot of testing with Bridgestone, where we have around 10 sets a day and all are a little bit different. To keep the costs down you don’t have the third element [in the suspension] but you have a lot of downforce. It’s pure driving and it’s really quick.
“I like the two cars for different things. The feeling of downforce in Super Formula is great, but SUPER GT you learn a lot as you go through the year.”
Drivers' View - Nick Yelloly
Yelloly races for BMW across multiple GT3-based series
Photo by: Gruppe C GmbH
Such has been the explosion of GT3 racing across the globe that it can be tough to work out the little intricacies across the various series. But BMW factory driver Nick Yelloly, who will campaign the new M4 GT3 in the GT World Challenge Europe this season and has contested the early-season IMSA blue-ribands with the Rahal Letterman squad, is well-placed to explain. And it’s tyres that are the obvious starting point.
“For this year Pirelli [supplier to GTWCE] have upped their game,” says Yelloly. “Last year it was pretty peaky - it was a similar lap time to the Michelin [used in IMSA and the DTM] on one lap, but degraded. I’ve only done the Paul Ricard test on the new Pirelli, but it seems that its peak is on a par with the Michelin for one lap, if not better, and degradation-wise we’ve found we can manage it much more like a Michelin. I think they’ve done it to keep up with the DTM.
“Also you have to take into account Balance of Performance. It’s different from SRO [which runs GTWCE] to IMSA to DTM. All championships have different power outputs depending on who’s doing well. You could have 10 or 20 millibars of boost here and there, or a bit of weight added.”
As such, car development is aimed more at providing a car that’s comfortable to drive consistently. “The main thing is to get it correct for the gentleman drivers,” points out Yelloly. “The M6 [which the M4 replaces this year] was difficult to drive even as a pro, but an Am can drive the M4 consistently and well.”
Yelloly has also had race-winning success in Germany’s ADAC GT Masters, which uses the same Pirelli as GTWCE: “I really enjoy that series – it’s tough, hard racing. People forget that so many drivers who could or should have made it to F1 are in GT. The level is just unbelievable.”
GT Masters series uses Pirellis, much like GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup
Photo by: Alexander Trienitz
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