The “47th Summer Endurance Suzuka 10 Hours Endurance Race” to be held from 2018 is a race event to see who can run fastest for a duration of 10 hours at the world-renowned Suzuka Circuit race track among vehicles participating in the GT race competitions held in various countries a under unified regulation. Here is what has been determined at this point about what kind of race this will be.
This race event will be held through the cooperation of GTA Co., Ltd. and the SRO Motorsports Group, which holds numerous GT3 car races mainly in Europe and also at Suzuka Circuit. The FIA GT3-spec cars, which are the mainstream of GT car racing around the world (more details can be found here) will be the core of the eligible cars.
The eligible cars are mainly FIA GT3-spec cars, the cars participating in the GT300 class of the SUPER GT series, which includes FIA GT3-spec cars and JAF-GT spec cars, as well as the cars competing in the ST-X class (the class designated for FIA GT3 cars) of the Super Taikyu series. In principle, the GT300 cars of the SUPER GT series are not allowed to take part in races other than those of the SUPER GT series during its race season, but they will be able to participate in this race thanks to the collaboration with GTA Co., Ltd., promotor of the SUPER GT. (Only full-season competitors of the given year will be eligible from GT300 and ST-X. However. series points will not be awarded in this race).
The FIA GT3 allows for a large variety of car types to be homologated and the performance of the cars is regulated through a Balance of Performance (BoP) process. The Blancpain GT Series in Europe, the Blancpain GT Series Asia and the SUPER GT all adopt the BoP system as well. The BoP for the Suzuka 10 Hours will be fixed after discussions between the SRO Motorsports Group that created the GT3 car race category and GTA Co., Ltd.
One 2017 Series Champion car from each of the IMSA GTD (North America), the Pirelli World Challenge (North America), the Blancpain GT Series (Europe), the ADAC GT Masters (Europe), the British GT Championship (Europe) and the Australian GT Championship (Oceania) will be invited to compete as the organizers’ Invitation Teams, and a category targeting the development of next generation vehicles can also be set.
In this Suzuka 10 Hours Endurance Race, it is anticipated that competitors from the GT car races held around the world a will enter. The series points for the “Intercontinental GT Challenge” will be awarded to competitors in this race at Suzuka. Since the Intercontinental GT Challenge includes the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour (Australia), the Total 24 Hours of Spa (Belgium) and the Mazda Raceway California 8 Hours (USA), the Suzuka 10 Hours Endurance Race will be proudly joining this world-class series.
Tire rules for this race will not be the same as the SUPER GT, a single tire manufacturer will supply the tires for all cars. It has been announced that Pirelli will be the supplier.
The Suzuka 10 Hours Endurance Race will be held over a four-day schedule as follows:
As there will be a lot of practice sessions, will be able to enjoy getting a first-hand look at the participating cars in action. Since the finish of the race will be after dark at 8:30 pm, a night practice session is added to the program on August 24th. Attention should be payed to the Welcome Event held on August 23rd. It is a free-admission entertainment event that will be held at a public space in Suzuka City. Such an event is often held on the occasion of Endurance races in Europe. The whole city of Suzuka should be a festival mood.
The FIA Driver Categorization is adopted in many GT car race events held around the world. This is a system managed by the FIA that lists drivers on the basis of their achievements and performances. In short, former F1 drivers, winners of big international races such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, or champions of international championships are categorized as ‘Platinum’ drivers, while drivers with achievements like placing in the top three in the general classification of the SUPER GT, DTM, BTCC series are classified as ‘Gold’ drivers, and amateur drivers who have finished in 1st place in the general classification of regional or major national championships or international series are classified as ‘Silver’ drivers, and amateur drivers are classified as ‘Bronze’ drivers.
The Driver Categorization will be applied in the Suzuka 10 Hours Endurance Race and the following maximum pairings will be accepted for 3 classes: PRO-AM (Bronze/Bronze/Bronze or Silver/Silver/Bronze), AM (Bronze/Bronze/Bronze), PRO (Higher pairings than PRO-AM). Prizes will be awarded to the top three cars in the overall classification, in the PRO-AM class and in the AM class. The top three among the Asian Teams will be awarded as well.
One of the big features of this Suzuka 10 Hours Endurance Race is the exceptional prize purse of 100 million yen, an amount never befor seen in a Japanese racing event to date. This news has already travelled quickly all over the world. It is said that it has drawn attention not only in Asia but also in North America and Europe.
The breakdown for the prize money is 88.5 million yen for Overall Winner prizes and 11.5 million yen for Special prizes (planned). The Overall prizes will be awarded to top finishers of the race, with 1st-place receiving 30 million yen, 2nd place will be 15 million yen and third place will be 8 million yen and so on.
As Special Prizes, 3 million yen will be awarded to the first placed team participating from Asian regions. 1.5 million yen will be awarded as the Asian Award to the second place team and prize money will be given down to the 6th-place team. Also, 1 million yen will be awarded as a Best Lap Prize, a Pole Position Prize, a Best Performance Prize, and a Best Pit Work Prize respectively.
In addition, 100,000 yen will be given to the top team in the overall class for each hour of the race as a "1 Hour Top Prize". Since there will be a prize money in each of these areas, teams that show speed both in qualifying and the race will get increased amounts of prize money accordingly.
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