With Lotus revealing the upcoming Emira GT4, it occurred to me that GT4 cannot only be Porsche’s, Audi’s and McLaren’s. Were there ever some rarer entries into the class? How did they look and how did they fare? And of course, what’s to come? Join me in jumping into a bit of recent racing history, as we look into the GT4’s you might not have known.
The upcoming Emira is not the first time Lotus has dabbled into the smaller of the grand touring classes.
Fans of the racing simulator RaceRoom Racing Experience (R3E) might know the Lotus Evora GT4, a car included in the game’s starter pack. This grand tourer is based in reality, although it hasn’t been shown in international competitions.
Remember, there are national series, such as the Swedish GT Championship, in which CYAN Racing competed with a Lotus Evora. CYAN Racing, of course, is the official motorsport partner of Geely, formerly running Volvos in WTCR and now running Lynk & Co 03, a rebadged Volvo S60 Polestar, in WTCR.
The happy looking Lotus Evora GT4 was run in the 2018 season of the Swedish GT Championship. Prince Carl Philip of Sweden piloted the grand tourer to 2nd position. However, 2019 did not see the return of the Swedish GT Championship.
This local endeavour was neither the first, nor the last time the Lotus Evora GT4 saw an outing on the racetrack. As early as the 2010 GT4 European Cup, the British car manufacturer won the Nürburgring round, piloted by Ollie Hancock. Following years Dubai 24 hours showed a Lotus Evora finishing on the podium.
Furthermore, GT4 was not the only class a Lotus Evora raced in. The Japanese Super GT Series has seen the British car participate from 2015 until 2021, taking it’s maiden victory at Fuji Speedway in 2020.
Upcoming for the constructor, the new Lotus Emira GT4 will be available for racing starting with the 2023 season. Here’s to hoping someone takes it on the international stage.
Panoz Avezzano GT4
In case you don’t know Panoz, they are an American sports car manufacturer found in 1989. They are best known for participating in the late 90’s FIA GT Championship with their Esperante GTR-1 and fielding LeMans Prototypes around the turn of the millennium. Less known, at least outside of the US, are their recent efforts in the smaller grand touring class.
The Panoz Avezzano came to racing in 2017, starting full season in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class. After a successful season with 6 wins, Panoz raced another 2018 season in GTS. For 2019 however, Panoz aspired a change to GT4 with the updated homologation. Ian James, who had piloted the GTS version successfully, won the newly homologated series in his Avezzano.
2020 was a challenging year for the project, as Panoz was unable to race for the first part of the season. Ultimately, sine 2021 Panoz has yet to reappear on the American racing series entry list.
Unfortunately, there has been no news regarding upcoming entries into any race series by Panoz. So for now we will just have to bide our time.
Sin R1 GT4
Sin is a Bulgarian supercar manufacturer founded in 2012. They currently produce the roadgoing R1 and an all-electrical urban platform for delivery vehicles and busses called the L City.
In racing, they started out with their R1 in the European GT4 series in 2015 winning several AM-class races. Over the following 2 years, they kept participating to less-successful results in the European racing series.
Also participating in the 2016 American Pirelli World Challenge, Sins won several races, its best car finishing 5th in the championship. Following year Racers Edge Motorsport returned with the Sin. Until 2019 they kept running the same vehicles. In 2020, Racers Edge did not return to the championship and no other private entry was announced to run Sins.
In 2014, one wild card entry joined the German round at Nürburgring. That entry was called the Roding R1, piloted by German Patrick Brenndörfer.
Having run several years in the DVM national German racing series for grand touring cars, the small manufacturer of carbon-fibre chassis tried entering the international stage at Nürburgring. Though, according to racingsportscars.com, the entry did no come to fruition and did not start either of the races.
So for now we can only live in a world where we need to imagine what this obscure German company could have done. Currently it is looking like Roding is only supplying other manufacturers, having ended their racing project indefinitely.
Maybe they supply existing developers with their carbon-fibre technology, it would be safe to assume however, that we are not going to see a Roding car any time soon.
The 2015 GT4 European Series did not only show the beauty of the Sin R1, another competitor showed up this year. The Chevron GT4 was manufactured by English Chevron Cars Ltd. Known for their many different racecars produced between 1965 and 1985, they once again tried to produce a vehicle worth of track-action in 2010. The resulting GR8 was later homologated to GT4.
This 2015 mid-engined racer managed to win the 11th race in the championship at Misano. Unfortunately this was the only year you could see this car in a high-stakes championship.
Unfortunately, Chevrons latest online presence has been a few Facebook posts in 2017. Judging by that, it seems unlikely to see Chevron again. But who knows, maybe they’ll come back out of retirement one more time.
Ultimately, the interest GT4 sparks in me is the low barrier of entry for manufacturers. Much like touring cars, this smallest of the grand tourers is relatively simple to get into. I would love to see more small manufacturers, racing teams, technology providers or just rich racing-enjoyers getting into this series.
Seeing as there were so many GT4 projects which could be on the pace immediately, I would hope that my wishes come true in the next years. Now that GT3 is on the rise, the smaller class might be able to ride the high and get some interest of more obscure manufacturers again.
Until then, let’s enjoy Lotus returning. Are there any entries I missed? And could you get a glimpse on any of the cars mentioned in action? I’d love to hear from you in the comments down below!