SUPER GT 2022 schedule won't feature overseas races
SUPER GT will not attempt to run any overseas races in 2022, with the series set for an entirely Japan-based calendar for a third year in a row.
Masaaki Bandoh, chairman of the GT Association (GTA) that organises SUPER GT, made the revelation on Sunday ahead of the third round of the 2021 season at Motegi.
The onset of the coronavirus pandemic forced the GTA to call off its planned visits to both Malaysia's Sepang Circuit and Buriram in Thailand last year, and neither fixture made it on the final version of the 2021 calendar amid continued travel restrictions in the region.
That resulted in an eight-round schedule featuring six tracks in Japan, with Fuji Speedway and Motegi hosting two rounds each and Okayama, Suzuka, Sugo and Autopolis holding a single event apiece.
Bandoh said that next year's schedule will be fundamentally similar to this year's, albeit with Suzuka getting a second date at the expense of Motegi.
"We've concluded that it would be difficult to travel to Malaysia and Thailand in the current situation, and we would like to hold eight races within Japan again next year," said Bandoh.
"We thought a lot about the opening race, but like this year the plan is to start the season in Okayama, then Fuji and Suzuka will get two races each and the other tracks one race."
However, Bandoh left the door open for Malaysia and Thailand to return to the calendar in early 2023.
"We would like to hold the final race next year at the start of December, and then hold a test in a warm place [outside Japan]," he added. "If we can ship all the cars overseas in December, then we could potentially hold winter races in Malaysia and Thailand in January or February.
"Then we would bring the cars back to Japan in March, do the pre-season test and hold the first race [at Okayama] in April.
"With that in mind, from next year we'll try holding the opening round in Okayama in the third week of April instead of the second week. We'd like to test out whether we can come back [to Japan] and race by that time in 2023."
Bandoh also indicated he is keen to create a Formula 1-style 'summer break' in the middle of the season in which factory shutdowns are mandated.
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