Though popular time trials and time attack series are attended by plenty of fun-loving Mustang owners, the cars racing are usually assembled overseas. Not every time attacker craves the Japanese offerings, nor straight-line only racing. This means there are plenty of owners of American V8-powered cars wanting to run the road course. Some of these drivers have voiced a desire for a series of their own.
Responding to this request, four devoted Californian time attack racers devised a set of easily understandable rules to create Super GT Cup: an accessible, fair, highly competitive trials series catering to American cars new and old. Featuring mostly Mustangs, Camaros, and Corvettes this time attack category aims to grow a community of like-minded road racers on the West Coast without the hangups that come with most organizations that grew too fast.
We wanted a well-organized series of events that would help drivers grow. The ambiance of support was the main aim with Super GT Cup; we needed people to feel like they were supported by their peers—not just competing against them. Kevin Burke.
The other three voiced support for this cause; feeling that the world of time attack runs the risk of becoming too cold and distant if the sizes of the series keep swelling. To avoid a lot of bureaucracy and emphasize a more democratic vibe, the founders of this series regularly engage with their customers and try to build the rules and conditions to suit them. Drivers can, for instance, modify the current ruleset with a convincing proposal should they take the time to write one. This helps members feel they’re an integral part of the organization—an organization that fosters driver development with instruction, setup tips, and general moral support.
The result? Most of their 180 entrants have shaved as much as two seconds from their lap times between the start and the end of last year’s season. At the sharp end of the pack, the front-running five may occupy a spread of only one second. The highly competitive environment, tempered by a friendlier community than offered by most racing series, has only helped their following grow this year.
At most events, Super GT Cup sees somewhere between thirty and sixty drivers competing in four different classes: Street, Mod, Super Mod, and Race. The classes are divided along fairly basic rules that are all based on a clear structure that assigns platforms and modifications to their own points rating. The cumulative score places them in their intended category, although a few hard rules keep people from taking advantage of a relatively simple scoring system.
“We realized that most of the points in our system had a clear result in terms of lap time. Basically, one point should make a difference of one second at Buttonwillow CW13,” said Sensoli. Validated by AIM data across a number of platforms, the basic relationship between lap times and points holds well enough to make most happy.
That said, hard rules are there to make it all clearer and fairer. “We don’t attach a points cost to big brakes or safety equipment,” said Sensoli,”but the basics standards of modification are pretty easy to appreciate, so we can distinguish the classes without much confusion.”
The Street class cars have full interiors, while the Mod class cars must have interior from the B-pillar backwards. Anything sporting Hoosiers or other super-sticky DH tires will likely be classed in Super Mod, while the gutted machines on slicks undoubtedly run among the other Race-class cars. As the cars get faster, the rules get a little more lenient. In the case of the Race-class vehicles, a recent change to the ruleset allows for non-domestic cars fitted with American engines to compete. Simple distinctions like these help keep cars of comparable performance close on the track.
This year, there will be six more events in addition to the series opener which took place at Buttonwillow two weeks ago. The rules stipulate that a driver’s worst two events may be dropped from their overall points count, but drivers must compete in a minimum of three of this year’s seven events to qualify for the finals. This prevents a rouge in a high-grade car from demolishing the competition in only one event and costing the regular competitors a chance at the big prize.
As mentioned before, it’s the driver who’s prioritized in Super GT Cup. Those wanting a more competitive, more organized atmosphere in which they can grow quickly and comfortably, running with this rapidly growing series should be given some thought.