Privilege Currently Riding High

02 January 2001

Overseas readers might be unaware of the initials ISC. They refer to the Interactive Sportscar Championship, a series in the process of being created for GT cars and related vehicles, to run on mainly UK circuits in 2001.

Hard news about likely entrants is currently difficult to come by. Rob Schirle has publicly confirmed that he is planning to run a pair of Porsche 911 GT2s, Darrian have expressed an interest, possibly with a V8 powered version of the little Welsh race / rally car and….well, a couple of Audi TTs could appear, but these seem far from confirmed as yet. A top line Viper to join the list?

There are regular suggestions in the press that nine or ten teams are going to commit to the ISC, and there could be sound financial reasons why a team might consider entering. The series is structured around pay per view television, so if large numbers of households pay an annual fee to watch the races (broadcast from a huge number of cameras covering every view of the track, plus in-car coverage), there could be an enormous pot to share out among the entrants.

Will the (right) teams enter though? Will the public get behind an assortment of ‘GT’ cars? Are there enough potential fans of this class of racing, who will pay to watch it on TV? These would seem to be the key questions, and the answers will become apparent in due course, sooner if not later.

Rob Schirle’s 911 GT2s may be quick in Spain with larger restrictors, but does a two year old (six year old design) 993 really get the pulse racing? Do Darrians get anyone but Welshmen (and lovers of the underdog) excited? The Audi TTs are different and new to the UK, but in reality they’re year old DTM cars that are too short to race and be a success in that series in 2001. Are they GT cars? No time for that argument now, but the ISC seems to have rules that are flexible enough to admit almost anything.

Will some of the runners come from Europe? The FIA GT Championship is busily tying up entrants to a full season, but the ISC are allegedly aiming to attract European GT teams. Currently, there is no news on who or what. Will these potential racers attract the pay-per-view audience?

The momentum is certainly with the blossoming Privilege Championship, not the ISC. The privileged gentlemen racers are increasingly going to be mixing it with very serious, factory-connected entries, in both classes. The 1999 champion will again be in a factory car, the target a second title in a Lister – after narrowly missing out in 2000. Was there ever any suggestion that a Lister would enter the ISC?

A Storm does play a headline role in ISC’s promotional video, but is Laurence Pearce seriously thinking of entering the ISC? When the Privilege is the one his man Warnock wants to win? Would Brian Kreisky have considered the ISC for his Premier 1 Racing Lister? Sadly, we cannot ask the poor man, but there remains an issue over footage used in that same ISC promo film. Footage from other international events in there too? Now that could turn out to be a big mistake.

So who will be in the ISC? The organisers are probably waiting for the right moment to reveal all, not wishing to publicise entrants until they are formally signed up. The Autosport Show perhaps?

There are parallels here with the FIA GT / FIA SCC / ELMS situation. Dilution of available entries helps no one surely? Those who are established will fight to hang on to what they have spent years creating. No one relishes a new kid on the block, muscling in, enticing entries to come and play with them.

That seems an unlikely prospect in the UK. No less than Porsche Cars GB have spotted where the main attraction will be. Private entrants in GT3Rs and TVRs will be chasing a formidable target, as will the GT runners – a Saleen, at least one Lister, Vipers, the Esprit, a Mantara, two Speed 12s etc. PowerTour is going to see not only the best GT series in the UK, it’s going to see the best series in the UK. It’s the one they (almost) all want to win.

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