The 2019-2020 FIM Endurance World Championship Round 3, the 43rd "Coca-Cola" Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race
This race has also become increasingly popular overseas in recent years. But now the coronavirus infection (COVID-19) has spread all over the world, and it has brought the decision to postpone this year’s Suzuka 8 Hours, which was originally scheduled to be held on July 19th 2020 as Round 3 of the 2019-2020 FIM Endurance World Championship, until November 1st 2020.
Autumn in Japan and SuzukaThe shift of this traditional midsummer race to the beginning of November brings a big change. The Suzuka 8 hours is often referred to as a midsummer race festival. However, even in autumn the 8 Hours will still be full of attractions as a race event, and there will also be advantages to come with this change in date.
Autumn is widely considered to be the most pleasant season to visit Japan, with nice range of temperatures and less humidity. The average temperature in October in Mie Prefecture, where Suzuka Circuit is located, is 18.3 °C, and in November it is 12.7 °C. So, there is no need to prepare to battle Japan’s midsummer heat and humidity.
Japan's Classic Endurance raceOver the long history of the Suzuka 8 Hours, many fans have come to enjoy the spectacular scenes that take place there for 8 hours on the 5.8 km track under a scorching sun and then at dusk, when the machines are distinguish by their light streaks. The 8 Hours has attracted many spectators because of its abundance of heated duels, its twists and turns, its spectacular racing aspects that only happen as part of an endurance race. It’s a contest where riders push their limits and those of their machines, making it an all-round test of physical and mental strength, as well as technique and reliability. The major Japanese manufacturers have always had a keen interest in this competition. The appeals of the endurance race will still be present when the race is contested in autumn for the first time this year.
Regulations of the Suzuka 8 HoursThe Suzuka 8 Hours is one of the most famous motorcycle races in the world, along with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Bol d'Or. A traditional event, it was integrated into the FIM Endurance World Championship from 1980.
Since 2017, the 8 Hours has also served as the final round of this Championship, which has two categories: Formula EWC (EWC) and Superstock (SST). Each motorcycle is ridden by a team of two or three riders. One of the highlights of the 8 Hours weekend is the "Top 10 Trial" provided for in the supplementary regulations of the Suzuka 8 Hours. In addition to the usual qualifying sessions, the riders of the 10 fastest qualifying motorcycles set off one by one for 3 laps, including the warm-up and deceleration laps.
The start of the 8 Hours race is something not to be missed. When the start countdown ends, the Japanese flag is waved and the riders rush to their machines to make the best start possible. Pit stop strategies are extremely important in endurance racing. For this championship, only four mechanics can work on each motorcycle. However, this limitation no longer applies when the motorcycle enters the pit box.
The number of tires allowed for use is also limited. The sporting regulations of the FIM Endurance World Championship 2019-2020 specifies that the limitation is only applicable for qualifying sessions (previously, the limitations also applied for the race as well): seven tires for the qualifying sessions (five for the teams with two riders) for both the EWC and STT classes. There is no limitation on rain tires for either category.
MachinesTo be eligible for the Endurance World Championship, the machines must be sold as production models, accessible to the public in a road-going version. Motorcycle in the Formula EWC class can be modified in numerous components: suspensions, engine, cooling and exhaust systems, etc. On the other hand, the modifications allowed on the SST class machines are more limited in order to keep them closer to the originals.
All engines must be 4-stroke and have a maximum of four cylinders in both EWC and SST. Displacement capacities for the EWC class are from over 600cc (4 cylinders) to 1200cc (2 cylinders) but most of the models’ engines are 1000cc with four cylinders. The minimum weight of the machines is 175 kg. The maximum fuel tank capacity is 24 liters.
For the SST machines, the displacement capacity must be over 750cc (3 or 4 cylinders) and up to 1200cc (2 cylinders). The minimum weight of the machines is 168 kg. The maximum fuel tank capacity is 24 liters.
Le Mans TrophyThe cities of Le Mans and Suzuka signed a friendship and cooperation agreement in 1990. The 8 Hours of Suzuka and the 24 hours Motos have also been in partnership since 2019, and the Le Mans trophy goes to the top finishing European team in the Suzuka 8 Hours. The Suzuka trophy is awarded to the best-finishing Asian team in the 24 Hours of Motorcycles at Le Mans.
Outside of the race trackDuring the Suzuka 8 Hours race weekend, a wide variety of attractions are held every year. They include a music event named "Base 8 tai" that provides new motorsport entertainment combining music and motorcycles, an exposition of historic racing bikes, a motorcycle test ride that can be enjoyed by everyone from children to adults, and more. You will be able to enjoy all these attractions more comfortably this time than in the usual midsummer event. In the coming November holding, these festivities will certainly be every bit as enjoyable as they have been in summer, if not more!
Autumn also remains a particularly interesting period for lovers of Japanese cuisine, since many foods are in season at that time. In Mie Prefecture, there is an abundance of delicious foods from the land, such as Matsusaka Beef, and from the sea, such as Ise lobster.
Suzuka Circuit itself is thus an exciting destination for any fan of motor sports, but also for those who seek culinary discoveries. The circuit is blessed with numerous food stalls and restaurants that offer a rich variety of cuisines from throughout the country. Inside the circuit, there are areas lined with booths offering various foods and refreshments. In addition, Suzuka Circuit runs an amusement park and a hotel next to the race track. Motopia has many eateries where one can enjoy anything from several types of noodles to grilled entrees, and Suzuka Circuit Hotel offers various dishes in its restaurant area named S-PLAZA.
As you can see, for the eyes and for your taste buds, you should not miss the Suzuka 8 Hours this autumn!