Grand Touring Endurance, shortened to GTE or LM GTE (due to its use in the 24 Hours of Le Mans), is a set of regulations maintained by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) for grand tourer racing cars used in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and its associated series. The class was formerly called GT2 when it was used in the 24 Hours of Le Mans to distinguish it from faster GT1 cars.
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The class, derived from the former 'GT3' class in 1998, debuted in 1999 under the name of 'GT' in 24 Hours of Le Mans, American Le Mans Series and Le Mans Series, and as 'N-GT' in the FIA GT Championship. In 2005, the class was renamed GT2, below the faster GT1 class (formerly known as GTS).
Originally it was dominated by the Porsche 911 GT3 in its R, RS and RSR versions, but the Ferrari 360 Modena, Ferrari F430 and Panoz Esperante were also successful, as well as the BMW M3 in the United States. Other models entered were the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Morgan Aero 8, Spyker C8 and TVR Tuscan.
Since the GT1 class was dropped from ACO competitions for the 2011 season, the GT2 class was renamed LM GTE in Europe and GT in the United States. The new main rivals for the Porsche 911 were the Ferrari 458 Italia, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Chevrolet Corvette, BMW M3, BMW Z4 and SRT Viper. Other less successful models in the early 2010s were the Jaguar XKR, Lamborghini Gallardo, Lotus Evora and Ford GT.
The ACO has defined limits and requirements for the LM GTE category to ensure that cars are legitimately production-based. The car must have "an aptitude for sport with 2 doors, 2 or 2+2 seats, opened or closed, which can be used perfectly legally on the open road and available for sale." The ACO modifies its regulations for “Small manufacturers” (less than 2000 cars produced a year). In order to be eligible a big manufacturer must produce at least one car a week or a small manufacturer one car a month. The cars will be eligible to race when 100 road cars for big manufacturers or 25 road cars for small manufacturers are produced. The car must have an official launch campaign and sales network. The engine must be used in a production car; while this is usually the engine from the road car, the ACO has made exceptions for cars like the BMW Z4 GTE which use engines from other models. Carbon fiber, titanium and magnesium are banned except for special parts like spoilers or wheels. Cars with carbon cockpits (that are not directly attached to the suspension) are allowed. The engine displacement is limited to 5.5L naturally aspirated or 4.0L turbo/supercharged. The SRT Viper is granted a special waiver to 8.0L. The minimum weight is 1245 kg. Cars must have working lights and windshield wipers at all times. To distinguish from faster Le Mans Prototypes at night, LM GTE cars must use yellow headlights. Four-wheel drive is banned while engine-based traction control is allowed. Gearboxes are limited to six forward gears. All cars must also have rear-view cameras in addition to side mirrors.
Cars are allowed one set of modifications every 2 years. Brand new cars are allowed one extra set of modifications in the first year of competition. Small aerodynamic modifications are allowed for Le Mans each year. If the road car is upgraded with a new part, that part can also be used on the LM GTE car through updating the homologation. Manufacturers can also apply for waivers to allow the homologation of cars or parts that would normally be banned by the rules.
Overall, the technical regulations are focused on keeping LM GTE cars relatively close to road cars in terms of parts and dimensions. Aerodynamic devices such as spoilers are heavily regulated. There are also minor requirements that are holdovers from the earlier era of Le Mans, such as requiring at least 150 cubic decimeters of luggage space.
At Le Mans, LM GTE is divided into two classes: GTE-Pro and GTE-Am. GTE-Am cars must be at least one year old or be built to the previous year's spec, and have limits on the quality of drivers allowed in the lineup.
The Endurance Committee of the ACO has the absolute right to modify the Balance of Performance between LM GTE cars through adjusting the weight, engine or aerodynamics. Air restrictors are used with default values for specific engine capacities.
2016 Regulation Updates
At the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, the ACO announced a range of changes for the LM GTE class. The aim of the changes is to increase the performance of the cars relative to the GT3-spec machinery that they compete against in certain series, whilst reducing cost and improving the safety of the cars. The regulations will be less restrictive, and so there will be a reduced reliance on waivers to allow certain cars to compete. One example of this is the increased freedom of aerodynamic development within specific regions of the car. The new cars will be able to compete in LM GTE Pro from 2016 alongside the 'old' specification of car, before becoming available for LM GTE Am in 2017. In 2018, the 'old' specification of car will be out of competition.
List of LM GTE cars
- Aston Martin Vantage GT2/GTE
- BMW M3 GT2
- BMW Z4 GTE
- BMW M6 GTLM
- Chevrolet Corvette C6.R
- Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
- Ferrari F430 GT2
- Ferrari 458 Italia GT2
- Ferrari 488 GTE
- Ford GT GT2
- Ford GT LM GTE
- Jaguar XKR GT2
- Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4
- Lotus Evora GTE
- Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
- Porsche 911 RSR
- Spyker C8 GT2R
- SRT Viper GTS-R
Series which use LM GTE cars
- The FIA World Endurance Championship (including the 24 Hours of Le Mans) use GTE cars in the GTE Pro and GTE Am categories
- The European Le Mans Series has a dedicated class for GTE cars.
- The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship has a dedicated class for GTE cars, officially known as GTLM.
- "Technical Regulations for Grand Touring Cars" (PDF). Automobile Club de l'Ouest. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
- FIA WEC: 2016 GTE Regulations, Key Points, Summary of New Regulations From DSC.
- "24 Hours of Le Mans: Introduction to the LM GTE Pro Class". Automobile Club de l'Ouest. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
- "Classes". World Endurance Championship. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
- "Category". Automobile Club de l'Ouest. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
- "The different classes". Automobile Club de l'Ouest. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
- "Classes". IMSA. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
- LM GTE regulations as of March 8, 2013