Sunday, January 27, 2008

Differences between touring cars and sports cars

For the informal observer, there can be a great deal of confusion when it comes to classifying closed-wheel racing cars as 'touring cars' or 'sports cars'. In truth, there is often very little technical differentiation between the two classifications, and nomenclature is often a matter of tradition.

In common, however, touring cars are based upon 4-door 'family' sedans or, more rarely, 2-door coupe cars, while GT racing cars are based upon more exotic vehicles, such as Ferrari's or Lamborghini's. Underneath the bodywork, a Touring Car is often more intimately related to its road-going origins, using many original components and mountings, while a top-flight GT car is often a purpose-built tube-frame racing chassis underneath a cosmetic bodyshell. Many Touring Car series, such as the BTCC and the now-defunct JTCC differentiate themselves from sports-car racing by featuring front-wheel drive cars with smaller engines.

However, while in common Touring Cars have a lower technical level than sports cars, there are notable exceptions to the rule. The Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) is measured to be one of the most technologically advanced racing series in the world, with cars that, underneath their four-door shells, are more purebread racing machines than most FIA-GT vehicles.

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