With a steady history of developing some of the most iconic and visually stunning GT cars on the planet, Reiter Engineering in Germany have done it again with the release of the KTM X-Bow GTX, with one of the very first models set to arrive in Australia in early 2021 for local dealer M-Motorsport.
Teased to the global media in late February, the Reiter Engineering-designed GTX was officially unveiled just days ago, revealing a stunning silhouette that is wrapped around a turbo 5-cylinder Audi powerplant that pushes the powerband to as much as 600-bhp..
Following on from the success of the mighty two-litre turbo [Audi] X-Bow GT4, Reiter – with full support from the KTM factory – looked to take that project a step further, developing a car that although badged ‘GTX’ is also capable of filling a place under the proposed new GT2 regulations.
For Australia’s M-Motorsport – who have become stalwarts of the Australian GT category and Reiter Engineering products – there was little question that one of the first cars out of production would be winging its way to Melbourne.
“I’ve been buying cars off Reiter Engineering for ten years and have a fantastic relationship with them,” M-Motorsport’s Justin McMillan confirmed.
“With their help we made the transition across from the last of the Lamborghini Gallardo GT3s, to the mighty Camaro GT3 and then the X-Bow to help build the GT4 category in Australia, but despite taking a 1-2 in the championship last year and winning the class at the Bathurst 12-Hour, it just hasn’t taken off the way we’d have liked it to – and the setbacks this year gave us the clarity to review the situation and look at what opportunities there are for the future.
“There’s no denying that the new X-Bow GTX is stunning, it’s had lots of people talking since it was first unveiled early this year, but aside from the visual aspect, the performance is also a factor, with a power-to-weight ratio that allows it to compete outright with the GT cars under the right homologation, so it’s a real weapon.”
The new car recently competed in Italy during the inaugural 12 Hours of Monza, the impressive new Reiter release winning the opening four hour leg of the event (which was split across two days – four hours + eight hours), usurping a trio of Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Rs an Audi R8 LMS EVO and a 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Sadly day two saw an alternator failure which ultimately cost them the lead, dropping them back down the order before a storming recovery drive by factory KTM driver Laura Kraihamer delivered the car the fastest lap of the race despite the fact that under the Creventic rules, the turbo 5-cylinder powerplant had to be detuned from 500-bhp to 450 to suit the limitations of the GTX category.
“Footage of the car pulling away from the GT3s in a straight line was one of the best things I’ve ever seen,” McMillan admitted. “It’s always been the Achilles heel of the X-Bow GT4 – that lack of punch – we always said that if we could run it unrestricted, it would be a much better car, and clearly Hans felt the same thing, and along with KTM developed what will be a stunning GT car!”
Whilst McMillan is yet to have driven the GTX with the effects of the global pandemic stifling any chance of a quick flight to Europe and a few hot laps behind the wheel, he placed an order almost immediately, feedback from reigning AUSGT#2 and team-mate David Crampton satisfying any questions he might have had..
“Dave [Crampton] drove the car on a couple of trips to Europe in late 2019 and he raved about it,” McMillan confirmed. “With the extra aero, the more powerful engine and the experience of developing the KTM GT4, he felt it was everything we were missing to make the car a whole lot nicer to drive, whilst at 1000kg, it gave us a package that would allow us to take the fight to the outright cars in a head-to-head battle.
“We thought GT4 would catch on eventually [in Australia], and that’s why we moved across to the KTM from the Gallardo’s and the Camaro we’d been running, but despite having as many as four cars at one point, it just hasn’t taken, so we feel we’ve done everything we can there. We may still hold on to one or two to cater for drivers who’d like an entry into GT racing at the top level, but our focus now is on the new GTX.”
The challenge though for McMillan and the M-Motorsport team though will be classification. The new car is classified a GTX (fitting somewhere between a GT3 and a GT4 – a category which has seen success in some parts of the world, particularly the Creventic endurance series), although Reiter has always been mindful of the new GT2 rules – focussed on amateur drivers – for which the car is easily modified.
“The 5-cylinder Audi powerplant can be dialed up to 600-horsepower quite easily, and with a few other tweaks to meet the proposed GT2 regulations, it’s good to go,” McMillan explained.
“With the failure of GT4 to really take hold in Australia, and GT3 falling under the SRO banner (under the rules of which Australian GT currently competes), we feel that the car would suit the market perfectly, especially as it also fits a price point between GT3 and GT4.
“Regardless, we have a car coming which will be eligible for various State Series events, but it is also designed as a track day car, an element of the sport which has seen strong growth in recent years, and more especially during Covid-19 with the lack of racing, so ultimately we can run the car just about anywhere, but ideally we’d love to campaign it in Australian GT, it would be a real dark horse..!”
McMillan expects the first GTX to arrive in Australia during the first quarter of 2021, but with KTM now receiving orders on an almost daily basis now that the car has been officially unveiled, he expects to take delivery of more than one pretty quickly.
“We’re a premium Reiter dealer, and often the first to receive new cars, so there’s not likely to be too much delay once the factory starts churning out the new model for customers. The GT4 has proven especially successful and therefore popular throughout Europe, so there are plenty of them in circulation, and I’d expect the GTX to follow that trend.
“Our plan is to utilise our factory in Melbourne, our race team and our B-double transporter to effectively provide a full race service for customers, whether they ever compete in a race, or just use the car for the many track days that occur around the country. We see it being a very successful program.”