2 Great Championships You Never Watch

Inside the vast realm of motorsport cups, challenges, and trophies, there lie 2 gems. Namely, the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge, and the FIA GT3 European Championship. Three things I love most about both these competitions: One, they feature (heavely) modified road going cars, which with only a bit of squinting look like the cars you and I could buy and drive. Second, the driver's aren't always professionals, and climbing behind the wheel of a GT3 car is therefore a somewhat attainable dream. Third, and lastly, the races aren't nearly as popular or televised as WRC, F1, or Nascar, which means the crowds, and the passion for racing is what fuels the existence of these competitions.

So there you go, three excellent reasons to learn a bit more about this often overlooked branch of motorsports. I'll start with the lesser known IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) GT3 Cup Challenge consistent solely of 996 and 997 Porsche GT3's. It's a one make race which features pure racing down to only driver skill and minor tweak and modification advantages. The grid is split up in to Platinum and Gold, dependent on which generation of GT3 you race, and for the rest it's basically two groups of equals competing to see who's got the better strategy, skill, and courage. The driver's team with the greatest tire compound strategy and biggest bullocks usually wins. A refreshing change from "the team with the largest R&D budget wins".

Except for the street car nature of it's race cars, the FIA European Championship isn't at all like the aforementioned GT3 Challenge, Not solely comprised of Porsches, the European Championship includes BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Audi, etc... The aim of the Championship is to allow amateur drivers to compete in cars which are as close to their road going variants as possible. It's truly a spectacle to behold as a stickered up supercar dream team race one another for the title. It's everything the better known, and more professional, FIA GT Championship resembles, except in a more raw, and old school way. It's the baddest, coolest, and truest form of racing, and it's well worth anyone's time to stay up late in to the night to catch an overseas race on TV. They'll often race at night and take it from me, there's nothing much cooler than a British racing green Aston Martin DBRS9 chasing a white Lamborghini Gallardo with only their exhaust backfire lighting up the sheer darkness of the night.

You'll be lucky to catch a race of either on SpeedChannel or EuroSports, so I've collected some awesome clips of racing action in GT3 Rallye and GT3 Championship. Sit back and enjoy a trip in to the lesser known world of amateur GT3 racing. (2nd Video Skip to 3:40, this must be what heaven sounds like). 

Lastly, let's now confuse the GT3 class of racing cars, to the Porsche 911 GT3 model. Unless someone talks about the Porsche only GT3 Cup Challenge, the term GT3 is used to describe a class of cars derived from road going vehicles. The next FIA GT3 Challenge race is held in the Algarve, South of Portugal on the weekend of May 8th. If you're ready for a holiday, why not make it the South of Europe next weekend?