A classic Gran Turismo, the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

A grand tourer (Italian: gran turismo) (GT) is a high-performance luxury automobile designed for long-distance driving. The most common format is a two-door coupé with either a two-seat or a 2+2 arrangement.

The term derives from the Italian phrase gran turismo, homage to the tradition of the grand tour, used to represent automobiles regarded as grand tourers, able to make long-distance, high-speed journeys in both comfort and style. The English translation is grand touring.

Characteristics[edit | edit source]

Grand tourers differ from standard two-seat sports cars in typically being engineered as larger, and heavier, while emphasizing comfort over straight-out performance or spartan accommodations. Historically, most GTs have been front-engined with rear-wheel drive, which creates more space for the cabin than mid-mounted engine layouts. Softer suspensions, greater storage, and more luxurious appointments add to their driving appeal. Some very high-performance grand tourers, such as the Aston Martin DB9, Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren make various compromises in the opposite direction while rivalling sports cars in speed, acceleration, and cornering ability, earning them the special designation supercars.

GT abbreviation[edit | edit source]

Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Turismo Compressore (1932).

Lancia Aurelia B20 GT, a GT car from the 1950s.

The GT abbreviation, so popular across the automotive industry, traces to the Italian tradition of referring to their luxury performance cars as gran turismo. Manufacturers such as Alfa Romeo,[1] Ferrari and Lancia led the way starting from the end of 1920s.

Among the many variations of GT are:

Grand tourers in racing[edit | edit source]

Today the term grand tourer, or gran turismo is synonymous with race versions of sports cars (even those which don't fit the definition given above) that take part in sports car racing, including endurance races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 12 Hours of Sebring, Petit Le Mans, Mille Miglia, Targa Florio, and Carrera Panamericana. Examples of race grand tourers include:

Motorsport classification[edit | edit source]

In certain professional motorsport classifications, such as the Grand Touring categories promoted by the FIA, the GT car is defined as "an open or closed automobile which has no more than one door on each side and a minimum of two seats situated one on each side of the longitudinal centre line of the car; these two seats must be crossed by the same transversal plane. This car must be able to be used perfectly legally on the open road, and adapted for racing on circuits or closed courses." GT cars are divided, from most powerful to least powerful, into GT1 (formerly GTS and GT) and GT2 (formerly GT and N-GT) in most championships, although the ACO has canceled further GT1 involvement not only in the 24 Hours of Le Mans but in every other Le Mans Series (LMS, ALMS, ILMC, JLMC) sanctioned by the ACO. This only left room for GT1 cars to race in the FIA GT1 World Championship, while in turn GT2 cars only competed in ACO sanctioned event due to the absence of the FIA GT2 European Championship. GT3 and GT4 class cars also have their own championships, as well as being eligible for several National GT championships.

Examples of grand tourers[edit | edit source]

A true grand tourer is a luxury high-performance vehicle intended for long-distance high-speed travel in both comfort and style; just because a manufacturer appended some form of GT initials to its model designation as a marketing gambit does not make such a car a grand tourer. Some examples include:

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Alfa Romeo 6C-1750 Sport/GT (17/85 HP)". motorbase.com. Retrieved on 2011-01-07.
  2. "Maserati 3500 Gti". maserati.com. Retrieved on 2011-01-07.

External links[edit | edit source]

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