Sports Racing Cars - History - The 1980s – Group C and IMSA GTP

The 1980s – Group C and IMSA GTP

In Europe, the FIA adopted the ACO GTP rules virtually unchanged and sanctioned the Group C World Endurance Championship (or World Sportscar Championship), featuring high-tech closed-cockpit prototypes from Porsche, Aston Martin, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Jaguar and others. In the USA, the IMSA Camel GTP series boasted close competition between huge fields of manufacturer-backed teams and privateer squads – the cars were technically similar to Group Cs but used a sliding scale of weights and engine capacities to try to limit performance. Both Group C and GTP had secondary categories, respectively Group C2 and Camel Lights, for less powerful cars, targeting entries by small specialist constructors or serious amateur teams.

The FIA attempted to make Group C into a virtual "two seater Grand Prix" format in the early 1990s, with engine rules in common with F1, short race distances, and a schedule dovetailing with that of the F1 rounds. This drove up costs and drove away entrants and crowds, and by 1993 prototype racing was dead in Europe, with the Peugeot, Jaguar, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz teams all having withdrawn.

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