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Pista – GT4 Manufacturer Ranking: BMW maintains advantage as Porsche closes to within striking distance

Porsche has closed to within striking distance of BMW at the head of the GT4 Manufacturer Ranking, making significant gains during a month that has seen all eight championships in action.

Spanning America, Asia, Australia and Europe, the new-for-2024 contest sees competing manufacturers score points via their customer GT4 teams. The recent run of races took place over a five-week stretch, beginning with the second round of Championnat de France FFSA GT at Lédenon. The country’s only major circuit to run anti-clockwise, the venue is located in the Gard department, around 30 kilometres from the historic city of Avignon.

The headline results made especially good reading for Aston Martin, which swept the board in Silver and earned an Am class win thanks to Racing Spirit of Léman. But it was Porsche that earned the most points, with its charge led by wins in both Am and Pro-Am for AV Racing. Mercedes-AMG also scored well thanks to Vic’Team, which picked up a Pro-Am victory.

The weekend of 18/19 May saw a trio of championships in action. The GT4 European Series Powered by RAFA Racing Club travelled to Italian venue Misano – located just a few kilometres outside the beachside resort town of the same name – where it joined a festival of GT racing also featuring Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS and the Fanatec GT2 European Series Powered by Pirelli.

With a 49-car field, serious points were on offer. This time Aston Martin emerged on top, picking up a victory in Am thanks to GPA Racing. Consistency paid for Toyota, which was the second-best scorer without winning at all, the GR Supra collecting two Am podiums courtesy of Toyota Gazoo Racing Sweden. Porsche also performed well, sweeping the Pro-Am class with JSB Compétition and AV Racing, while the Silver wins went to Mercedes-AMG (NM Racing Team) and BMW (BMW Team France L’Espace Bienvenue).

Across the pond, two series were in action at Circuit of the Americas. It was a significant weekend for Pirelli GT4 America, which tackled the inaugural Lonestar Enduro. This three-hour contest was staged under a blistering Texas sun and brought a big score for BMW. Random Vandals Racing showed red-hot form by winning in Silver and Am, while BimmerWorld took Pro-Am honours. With extra points on offer at endurance races, the Bavarian marque was able to out-score its closest contender Porsche by almost 500 points.

But the scales tipped the other way in the single-driver GT America Powered by AWS. Isaac Sherman won the opening contest in his Rotek Racing Porsche Cayman to make it seven wins without reply. His run was finally broken in the second outing as Curt Swearingin prevailed, though he too was at the wheel of a Cayman, adding more points for Porsche.

On 25/26 May it was the turn of two domestic series: ADAC GT4 Germany and the British GT Championship. The former – which is licensed by SRO and organised by the ADAC – was in the northeastern state of Brandenburg to race at the Lausitzring. The wins were shared between Mercedes-AMG (Mücke Motorsport) and BMW (Hofor Racing by Bonk), with the former narrowly out-scoring its rival across the weekend.

In the British championship, Donington Park played host to a dramatic, weather-interrupted three-hour race. Optimum Motorsport triumphed in the Silver class for a second time in succession – no mean feat given the Compensation Time that winning teams must serve in the pits – to give McLaren a strong score. But it was beaten on points by Aston Martin, with Forsetti Motorsport winning the larger Pro-Am class at the Leicestershire venue.

One week later and in a very different time zone, Monochrome GT4 Australia staged the second event of its maiden season with a trip to the Bend Motorsport Park. This high-spec facility is located near the small town of Tailem Bend, some 85 kilometres from the South Australia state capital of Adelaide. BMW took the biggest points haul, sweeping the Am class courtesy of Randall Racing. McLaren was the second-best scorer thanks to a Silver win for Method Motorsport, which also took both Pro-Am wins. Miedecke Motorsport Group added a victory for Ford, the third of the season for its new Mustang.

Finally, on 8/9 June, the Japan Cup became the eighth and final GT4 Manufacturer Ranking series to open its 2024 season by travelling to Sugo. Previously part of Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS, this is now a standalone championship featuring both GT3 and GT4 grids. In the Silver-Am class, YZ Racing gave BMW the first-ever win, while Toyota Gazoo Racing Indonesia secured the Japanese marque a home victory in the second outing. Abssa Motorsports won both Am class races uncontested with its Mercedes-AMG.

The past five weekends have seen BMW retain its lead with a score of 10,710, but Porsche is a very close second on 9,920 and Aston Martin remains firmly in the fight with its tally of 8,913. Thereafter it’s Mercedes-AMG on 6,891 points, followed by Toyota (5,007), McLaren (3,641), Audi (2,460) and Ford (1,122).

Having opened its season relatively late, the Japan Cup quickly moves to its second meeting at Fuji on 22/23 June. On the same weekend, both FFSA GT and British GT will be at Spa-Francorchamps as part of the returning Spa Speedweek, while GT4 Europe will race at the Belgian track one week later in support of the centenary CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa.

The action comes thick and fast thereafter with a Japan Cup race at Suzuka and ADAC GT4 Germany at Norisring on 6/7 July; British GT at Snetterton on 13/14 July; and GT4 Europe at Hockenheim and both American series at VIR on 20/21 July. With 10 race meetings to come over the next five weeks, the situation atop the standings could be set to change significantly.

HOW ARE GLOBAL POINTS SCORED?
SRO Motorsports Group must account for varying degrees of manufacturer participation across each continent when calculating the GT4 Manufacturer Ranking.

As such, points are awarded based on the position of each manufacturer’s leading car per category (Overall, Pro-Am, Am etc) in every race.

Points for Sprint races of up to 60 minutes are based on the standard allocation (25 – 18 – 15 – 12 – 10 – 8 – 6 – 4 – 2 – 1). This allocation doubles for races lasting two and three hours.

The points scored per brand are then multiplied by the number of cars competing in that category. Therefore, a win in a category with five cars competing is worth less than one where 20 cars are entered.

No cars are removed from the classification – if the top six cars are from a single brand, the next brand will score points for seventh. These points are added across the categories and races to give the manufacturers’ global score.