The Mantis Challenge was launched in 1998, with the aim of providing a one-make series to provide close racing for competitors keen to race GT cars more technically advanced than the already popular TVR Tuscans, but cheaper than the full house GT1 and GT2 cars of the Privilege GT Championship.
The first season was low key, with very few cars out at some rounds, but the racing was sometimes exciting and the opportunity to compete in the Privilege GT series (as a GT2) and the French GT series, where it won the GT3 class on an outing late in the season, has attracted a number of competitive runners for 1999, including the 1998 Caterham Champion and at least 1 1998 MGF frontrunner.
Initial reports suggest that there could be fields of 25 cars in the Dunlop Marcos Challenge in 1999.
Part way through 1999 and there is plenty of good news on the Mantis Challenge front. Exciting races, strengthening fields, and reliable cars have made the British series an increasingly strong series, but in Holland, the Dutch Mantis Challenge has started, with a 14 car grid.
Rob Knook, a champion in the Dutch LM500 series, won the race at the Trophy of the Dunes at Zandvoort, although he was followed closely across the line by Peter Van Soelen and Peter Van der Kolk. Once again the reliability of the cars was impressive with all 14 finishing. Next races up (in the form of a double header) for the Dutch series are at Spa on the 17th/18th July,
The Spa event also forms part of the newly announced 'Tri-Nations Challenge'. The second round of the Challenge (for cars from both the British and Dutch series) will be at Silverstone on August 22nd, where up to 35 cars are likely to appear.
The final leg will be back at Zandvoort, once again a double header, on 19th and 20th September. Although the races will form part of the national series, the Challenge will be scored solely on the results of these events, encouraging exciting races and packed fields.
Mantis Challenge Racecar Spec.
Engine: 4.6 V8 32 valve, dry sump lubrication Front Brakes: 4-pot calipers, 360mm discs - fully floating Rear Brakes: 2 pot calipers, ventilated discs with handbrake attachment Seating adjustable to suit drivers stature Pedal assembly all adjustable, full floor mounted and fitted with brake balance control operating from the cockpit Gearbox has fifth gear uprated to .870:1 to make it much closer and usable to the fourth gear Limited slip differential final drive ratio is 3.23:1 FIA roll cage, bag tank (100 litres), fire extinguisher etc. Weight : 950 kilos