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14 Septemebr 2008

Some one's building cars in Blackpool again.

…at last. After several months of negotiation, the guys at GTF have secured the licence, premises and workforce to build new Tuscan Challenge based racecars at Bristol Avenue in Blackpool.

The cars bodywork will be based on the brutal Sagaris shape previously used on the current fleet of GTFs and will be mounted on modified race proven Tuscan Challenge car (TCC) platforms renowned for their pace and strength. But this is not news, so what’s been going on?

Well the GTFs have had a quiet year in 2007 whilst the guys have been developing the Chevy drive train and the chassis modifications to house it. Tim’s (Tim Hood) new yellow car launched earlier this year has been a test bed for the design along with Steve Glynn’s purple GTF and another TCC chassis and now things have been sorted and are ready for production after several minor issues have been identified and eliminated.

A factory has been found in Blackpool’s Bristol Avenue and several of the guys who built Tuscan Challenge cars have been recruited to build up to 15 cars over the next 12 months. Rolling chassis have been prepared and 7 rolling chassis will be ready for customers by the time you read this. 5 of these chassis are prepared for Chevy V8 engines and 2 are ready for AJP V8s. All of these cars could be racing next year!

The specifications are…
GTF 700   7 Litre LS7 engines - rebuilt for endurance racing.
GTF 600   6 Litre LS3 engines - for sprint racing
GTF 450   4.5 Litre AJPV8 cars - for sprint racing.

These are some serious cars and they command the budgets to match. Before dropping in the numbers, I’d like to remind you all that the Racesport GT3 Sagaris is at the front of the Britcar grids with a very similar specification, and I firmly expect the yellow GTF to be on that pace in next years Season too. To get that kind of pace is quite expensive. The front running Moslers are £330,000 plus race prep and the Porsche’s are in that ballpark too. So where is the GTF700 going to sit? Well at £75,000 ready to go…it’s a bit of a bargain…if you have that kind of money! I only wish I did.

£75,000 gets you a brand new chassis, an awesome LS7 engine, sequential gearbox in a Sagaris shell with all the fuelling, brakes and suspension for you to beat a Porsche GT3 or muscle a Mosler. £53,000 will put a GTF600 in your garage, again new, with the above spec but with a slightly lower powered race LS3 engine. Finally the GTF450’s will be built from donor cars such as Tuscan Challenge cars or Cerbera’s. Pricing on these cars will de determined by agreement on arrival and inspection at the GTF race cars premises at Blackpool. The picture here is a scaled computer image of a GTF 450 based on a donor Cerbera. The actual car will be identical, with longer haunches and the roof and rear section modified to match. It will be 50cm wider to improve the track too.

I asked Fred, the “F” in GTF about road legal and trackday cars. He said that at GTF race cars, they were predominately interested in building race cars (quite reasonably) but that it wouldn’t take much to build a car to road spec for the customer to SVA it themselves. Again, this is something that would have to be looked at and agreed at the time and would be dependant on specification, but it was possible. Could this be something that someone else may take on under licence I probed? That is currently being looked at by a third party, Fred said. He would be drawn no further!

So, how does one go about getting a GTF or looking into it further? Well, the current run of chassis, are available almost immediately a couple straightaway. Rolling chassis (body, chassis, corners) are available now at £10,500 for Chevy cars and £9,500 for AJP cars and you can come along to Blackpool, check one out and take it away. The red and black GTFs (seen in the Challenge) are also for sale if you can’t wait, with their AJPV8 engines and T5 gearboxes, so plenty to consider if you are thinking of Group A or Endurance racing in 2008!

I recently tested the red GTF at Oulton Park on our own tvr Car Club trackday. I have been fortunate enough to drive several Tuscans and the Topcats Sagaris so I was really looking forward to it. I have to say that the car very intimidating. Fred likes his car very direct and edgy…much more so than my own car of course…and it took some getting used to. The front end had huge grip. Direct and pointy when the tyres warmed I had the feeling that the car would turn in almost anywhere. Shell corner was a breeze and Druids almost un-nerving, the speed you could carry through was amazing and to be honest…I wasn’t even close to the limit!

The nearest I can get to describing the sensation is to blend a Cerbera with a Radical, which is quite a mix. However, the Chevy based cars will be amazing. These cars will combine the feel of a Tuscan Challenge car, with the grip of the Radical and the punch of an Ultima. That’s one hell of a combination. I have been promised a test in their demonstrator next year, which is going to be a very special day for me I can tell you!

Andy Race
For more information on the GTFs or to book a factory visit, please contact me on or call 07966 464620

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