The name of the game in SimRacing is GT3, and it has been for a few years – be it for competitive or fun events. Assetto Corsa Competizione, iRacing, rFactor 2, RaceRoom and Automobilista 2 all feature the class at varying degrees of depth – but what is often overlooked is the class right beneath it: GT4. And that should not be.
There is no doubt about it: GT3 is currently the most popular class, and GT4 is mostly an afterthought ACC’s representation of the class is not available unless you buy the corresponding DLC, and in addition, the quicker cars one class up are still approachable, meaning there is little incentive to give their slower brethren a spin.
Granted, it is easy to see why that may be. GT4 cars look a bit less racecar-ish, with less sophisticated aero and no aggressive body kits. They are slightly slower in the corners, need slightly longer brake distances, and are slightly slower over the course of a lap, all things considered. However, there is one area in which they are at least equal to their faster cousins: fun.
GT4 cars may not stick to the track like GT3 vehicles, but that makes many of them feel more alive. Pinpoint precision is still rewarded, thought keeping the rear end in check can be a challenge in some cases. They are not too far off when it comes to top speed either, which is mostly down to the lighter weight of the GT3 cars. Interestingly, power outputs are relatively similar as well, with Mercedes-AMG’s GT3 model only having 6 more hp available than the GT4 version’s 544, according to the manufacturer.
The cars are lightly modified versions of their road-going counterparts, meaning they share a lot of their characteristics as well. This makes for an exciting mixture of cars with different strengths and weaknesses, just like in GT3. Designed as an entry-level class to GT racing, GT4 cars may help with developing race craft, but experienced SimRacers will find some fun in them as well. As they are relatively simple to drive, it is possible to try and find the limit rather than worrying about setups – at least not as much as in the faster cars.
Of course, hopping into a GT4 vehicle means a role reversal for multi-class races: Instead of looking for opportunities to lap slower cars, keeping an eye on your rear-view mirror is much more important now, while not losing focus on your own battles at the same time – a good bit of race craft to learn, even for faster cars.
Meanwhile, single-class events are very competitive as well: Just like GT3 cars, GT4 vehicles are subject to BoP adjustments, leading to tight races. They are used in numerous sprint series but are part of longer endurance races as well, such as the Nürburgring 24h race.
Giving the class a fair shot should therefore be a point on any SimRacer’s agenda. They might be missing out on serious fun if they do not – and all of the sims mentioned at the beginning of this article, save for rF2, include GT4 cars in their vehicle rosters.