A group of GT competitors are considering legal action against CAMS following the introduction of a new ruling which prevents GT3 and GT4 cars from competing outside of Australian GT events.
The rule, brought in mid-season, dictates that the vast majority of FIA homologated GT3 and all new GT4 cars can only compete in the Australian GT Championship, Australian Endurance Championship and Australian GT Trophy Series.
The initiative has been introduced by CAMS, without consultation with competitors, to safeguard GT racing and grassroots motorsport.
Speedcafe.com understands the group of competitors are assessing all options, including legal action and an Australian Motor Sport Appeal Court (AMSAC) appeal, regarding possible breaches of competition laws, the FIA code and national competition rules.
Driver and BMW Team SRM team owner Steven Richards says he is bewildered by the decision made by CAMS, which he believes will cost businesses customers.
“What it has done is it has cost our businesses potential customers and cost us the second hand car market because guys won't buy those cars to do these (state-level) events,” Richards told Speedcafe.com.
“I cannot see the sense in why and how they (CAMS) have done it.
“GT4 is aimed at amateur drivers so those drivers are going to be forced to race at these massive events where they may not have had the experience before.
“It is restricting everyone from doing the things they love from grassroots right up to the professional ranks.
“The GT3 car at state level racing is terrific for guys new to the sport. I cannot see how CAMS have come up with this idea that they are a destruction for grassroots motorsport.”
Audi Customer Racing Australia boss Troy Russell has used state-level events to blood new GT competitors, with the environment providing valuable mileage, before stepping up to the more professional Australian GT series.
He feels that step of the driver development pathway is crucial, while restricting customers to just a handful of events is not enough to justify the costs of purchasing GT3/GT4 race cars.
Russell says the rule change has affected his plans to expand into GT4 now prospective competitors can only contest the Australian GT Trophy Series.
The outfit had received three orders for the new R8 GT4 which have now been put on hold due to the ruling.
“The customers that are currently doing the Australian Trophy Series also want to be be able do selected state series rounds,” Russell told Speedcafe.com.
“In one breath we are supporting Australian GT in the Trophy Series but five rounds is not enough for people that have spent up to $300,000 on a car. I don't think that is unreasonable.
“If I look at my exisiting customer base they all started at track day level and then they do state series to learn about racecraft, and then we take them to Australian GT.
“All of my customers have come through that program so why would you cut off state level motorsport when that is where the Australian GT drivers have come from?”
While not among the group seeking legal action, Zagame Motorsport boss Cameron McConville says he understands CAMS' intentions, but believes there are areas which need to be addressed.
The Melbourne squad also plans to field two motor racing rookies in GT4 next year on the proviso the drivers could accrue miles in state-level events to achieve the necessary licence and experience required to compete in Australian GT.
“I understand that CAMS' intention was to stop a GT customer going to a state-level race day and blowing everyone's doors off,” McConville told Speedcafe.com.
“I'm sure that was the intention, however for us we have two McLaren GT4 customers waiting on cars and they were quite keen to do a bit of state racing because they have never raced before.
“If they are brand new to racing, which our two guys are, they won't have the appropriate licence which they would normally get by going through state racing.
“I think there are areas of it that haven't been thought through properly.
“I'm sure they (CAMS) will be open to some consultation and maybe some things can be altered slightly.”
Reigning Bathurst 12 Hour winning squad Maranello Motorsport had planned to field a GT3 car at Challenge Bathurst later this year.
While the team is not considering legal proceedings, owner Mark Coffey believes the ban is not in the spirit of motorsport.
“I can see why they are consolidating GT but to restrict GT cars at a place like Bathurst, which is test and a bit of fun, I don't see the logic of that,” Coffey told Speedcafe.com.
“It is essential that novices get miles up there before they race.”