2019 Super Formula Championship: Autopolis Preview

The second round of the 2019 Japanese Super Formula Championship takes us to Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, in the remote town of Oita located 160 kilometers east of the city of Fukuoka, and the Autopolis International Racing Course – once the prospective home of the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, and now one of the most underappreciated modern circuits in all of motor racing.

First opened in 1990, but not a part of the Super Formula calendar until 2006, Autopolis brings a unique challenge as a high-altitude, undulating circuit with an abrasive surface and several high-speed, medium-speed, and low-speed corners. All of which will make this Sunday’s 54-lap race one to watch!

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Update: Motorsport TV Officially Offering Free-to-Air Coverage Of Super GT

Yesterday we reported that the Motorsport Network, via their Motorsport TV service, were in line to become the new official international broadcast partner of the Autobacs Super GT Series starting this Saturday with the Fuji GT 500km Race.

We are pleased to learn that Motorsport TV will provide live coverage of the Fuji 500km and the remainder of the 2019 Super GT season, free to all, starting this weekend – instead of placing the series behind Motorsport TV’s premium paywall.

This comes after a statement from Grand Central Entertainment, the producers of the Let’s Go Racing YouTube channel (formerly NISMO TV), stating that they had an unnamed company – which we now know is Motorsport Network – had aggressively bid for exclusive coverage on their platform while Grand Central had a deal in place with Haro Sports & Entertainment, the English-language broadcast distributors for Super GT.

DailySportsCar editor-in-chief Graham Goodwin reported shortly after that it was Motorsport Network who were the unnamed company mentioned by Grand Central/Let’s Go Racing, and it was believed that the series would be made available only to premium Motorsport TV subscribers at a monthly or annual rate.

But, in what we can assume is a response to intense demand from Super GT’s burgeoning international fanbase, every round of the 2019 season will be made available freely on Motorsport TV – a gesture of good faith that is seen as increasingly rare amidst the various criticisms of their ruthless strategy of acquiring various motorsport media outlets and image archives since 2015.

There will be no coverage of official practice and qualifying sessions for the Fuji 500km, however, just the race itself – it can be safely assumed this will continue throughout 2019.

The broadcast team for the English-language coverage of Super GT on Motorsport TV has not yet been confirmed, other than that Sam Collins and Rob Barff will not be a part of the team.

Motorsport Network Set To Acquire Exclusive Premium Broadcast Rights To Super GT

The Autobacs Super GT Series have reportedly found a new international broadcast partner for the remainder of the 2019 season. But there may yet be more acrimony even after the series’ blackout to open the 2019 season has come to an end.

DailySportsCar editor-in-chief Graham Goodwin is reporting that the Motorsport Network have made an aggressive bid to purchase exclusive live streaming rights for the remainder of the 2019 Super GT season, starting with this Saturday’s Fuji GT 500km Race, which will be shown on the premium Motorsport TV service.

Grand Central Entertainment, without directly naming Motorsport Network, revealed in a press release on their Let’s Go Racing YouTube channel that they had been frozen out of being able to provide a free-to-air stream on their own channel for the Fuji 500km and for the rest of the season.

Continue reading Motorsport Network Set To Acquire Exclusive Premium Broadcast Rights To Super GT

2019 Fuji GT 500km Race: Weekend Schedule

For twenty-five years, the Golden Week race at Fuji Speedway has been a staple of the Autobacs Super GT Series calendar! The 36th running of the Fuji 500km is this Friday and Saturday on May 3 & 4 – and here’s your look at the “weekend” schedule!


all times JST (UTC +9)

Friday, 3 May 2019

8:50 AM – 10:35 AM: Official Practice (1 hour 45 minutes)
2:30 PM – 2:45 PM: GT300 Qualifying 1 (15 minutes)
2:50 PM – 3:05 PM: GT500 Qualifying 1 (15 minutes)
3:15 PM – 3:25 PM: GT300 Qualifying 2 (10 minutes)
3:33 PM – 3:43 PM: GT500 Qualifying 2 (10 minutes)

Saturday, 4 May 2019

12:55 PM – 1:15 PM: Warm-Up (20 minutes)
2:30 PM – 5:30 PM: Fuji GT 500km Race (110 laps)

The race will have a full support ticket with the 3rd and 4th races of the FIA F4 Japanese Championship, and the Porsche Carrera Cup Japan. The FIA F4 races start at 1:25 PM on Saturday and 8:40 AM on Sunday. The PCCJ races start at 4:15 PM on Saturday, and 11:55 AM on Sunday!

Here is the schedule converted into eight different time zones for eight key regions across Continental Asia, the Americas, Europe, and the Oceanic:

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2019 TCR Japan Series Preview

It’s been over twenty years since Japan has held a short-form touring car championship of its own. The All-Japan Touring Car Championship (JTC/JTCC), in its heyday, was a top-level competition featuring the cars of the FIA Group A category from the late ’80s to the early ’90s, and later, the Super Touring (Class II) cars in the mid-90s.

This weekend, touring car racing in Japan is revived with the launch of the TCR Japan Series, promoted by Japan Race Promotion (JRP) as part of the Super Formula Championship support ticket.

TCR Japan is a new series which hopes to shine a spotlight on a different breed of racing drivers, and to further expand the TCR formula – the new world standard of touring car racing – to a new audience.

It’s time to meet those new heroes and give you the rundown on the inaugural TCR Japan Series for 2019!

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2019 Fuji GT 500km Race: Starting Drivers

GT500 Class

23 – Ronnie Quintarelli
37 – Nick Cassidy
12 – Daiki Sasaki
16 – Hideki Mutoh
39 – Heikki Kovalainen
17 – Koudai Tsukakoshi
38 – Yuji Tachikawa
3 – Kohei Hirate
6 – Kenta Yamashita
8 – Takuya Izawa
36 – Yuhi Sekiguchi
1 – Naoki Yamamoto
24 – Mitsunori Takaboshi
19 – Sho Tsuboi
64 – Tadasuke Makino

GT300 Class

56 – Kazuki Hiramine
25 – Takamitsu Matsui
5 – Natsu Sakaguchi
11 – Hironobu Yasuda
360 – Takayuki Aoki
4 – Tatsuya Kataoka
55 – Shinichi Takagi
34 – Hiroki Otsu
7 – Tomonobu Fujii
88 – Yuya Motojima
61 – Takuto Iguchi
96 – Sena Sakaguchi
65 – Naoya Gamou
10 – Keishi Ishikawa
33 – Shawn Thong
2 – Hiroki Katoh
52 – Shigekazu Wakisaka
720 – Álex Palou
87 – André Couto
30 – Manabu Orido
21 – Richard Lyons
60 – Hiroki Yoshimoto
18 – Takashi Kobayashi
35 – Sean Walkinshaw
9 – Kyosuke Mineo
31 – Yuhki Nakayama
50 – Ryosei Yamashita
22 – Hisashi Wada
48 – Teruhiko Hamano

Super GT Stat Blast: Fuji GT 500km Race

Fuji Speedway Facts

Located in Oyama, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
Opened in December 1965
First reconfigured in 1975, modified in 1986, 1993, and renovated again in 2005
Purchased by Toyota Motor Corporation in Autumn 2000

Track Length: 4.563 kilometers / 2.835 miles
Track Width: 15 – 25 meters
Elevation Change: 40 meters

First Super GT Championship Race held in 1994
Race Length: 110 laps / 501.93 kilometers

  • Located less than 100 kilometers southwest of Tokyo
  • Host of the first All-Japan GT Championship Race on May 1, 1994
  • Host of four Formula One Japanese Grands Prix – 1976, 1977, 2007, and 2008
  • Host of the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Fuji (formerly the Fuji 1000km)
  • Circuit re-opened on April 10, 2005 after 18 months of extensive renovations carried out by Toyota and designer Hermann Tilke
  • Will be the road cycling venue for the 2020 Summer Olympics
Continue reading Super GT Stat Blast: Fuji GT 500km Race

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