SUPER GT set for three longer races, no timed events in 2022
SUPER GT is set to hold three 450km races in the 2022 season, with the remainder staying at the regular length of 300km.
Last year the Japanese championship was considering the idea of lengthening the standard 300km race distance, with a figure of 350 or 360km being floated by GTA chairman Masaaki Bandoh.
However, those plans now seem to have been shelved in favour of staging three longer 450km races – namely the two Fuji Speedway events, and the August Suzuka round.
Interestingly, this means a reduction in race distance for Fuji’s traditional Golden Week fixture in early May, which returned to being run over 500km last year and was the only event longer than 300km on the schedule.
The May Suzuka race along with the remaining four races at Okayama, Sugo, Autopolis and Motegi look set to stay at 300km.
Bandoh also mulled the prospect of introducing one or more FIA World Endurance Championship-style timed events, and SUPER GT’s sporting regulations have even been updated to reflect this, with extra points to be awarded for races lasting more than four hours.
Such a move no longer appears to be on the cards for 2022, although the updated rules suggest the possibility of a longer timed event remains for the 2023 season and beyond.
A 450km race at Fuji or Suzuka is likely to take approximately 2 hours, 45 minutes to complete, depending on caution periods, with 300km races generally lasting around two hours depending on the track.
Manufacturer testing continues for Toyota, Nissan
Last week, Toyota and Nissan continued their preparations for the upcoming season with private tests held at Fuji Speedway and Motegi.
Nissan ran for two days at Motegi with its two Michelin-shod NISMO-run Z cars, the Bridgestone-shod Impul car and an additional test car on Michelins.
The remaining Z, the Kondo Racing car that uses Yokohama tyres, was the only non-Toyota present for two days of running at Fuji, where all five Bridgestone-using GR Supras were in action along with the Racing Project Bandoh Toyota on Yokohamas.
Honda was not present for either test with its new NSX-GT Type S, which last ran at Okayama earlier this month.
There will be a final manufacturer test involving the majority of the GT500 field at Suzuka on March 3-4, preceding the Fan Thanks Day event at the Japanese Grand Prix venue – when a ‘dummy race’ involving 14 cars will take place.
The only cars not set to participate are the #3 NDDP and #23 NISMO Nissans, but the #230 test car will boost the Nissan presence to three cars, with all six Toyota GR Supras and all five Honda NSX-GTs slated to appear.
The first official pre-season test takes place at Okayama on March 12-13 with two more days of running scheduled for Fuji on March 26-27.
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