All teams will be required to make five full-service pit stops with driver changes at this August’s 45th International Suzuka 1000km.
A recent change in the sporting regulations by the Autobacs Super GT Series’ sanctioning body, the GT-Association (GTA), will see the minimum number of pit stops for driver changes, fuel, and tyres increased from four to five, as reported today by AUTOSPORTweb ‘s Ryuji Hirano.
In addition to the new minimum pit stop rules, teams will also be supplied twelve sets of dry-weather tyres, and fourteen sets of wet-weather tyres, by their suppliers for the race. This is one more set of each set of tyre than in 2015.
The minimum five-stop strategy will not apply in the event that the race is stopped prematurely by way of force majeure rules.
2014 saw Lexus Team Petronas TOM’s win the first Suzuka 1000km under the current GT500 regulations with an uptempo, five-stop strategy to defeat NISMO, who were maximizing fuel economy on a four-stop strategy. Four of the top six teams in 2014, in fact, used a five-stop strategy.
In 2015, most GT500 front runners ended up utilizing a four-stop strategy in a time limited race – but BMW Team Studie (2nd in GT300) were among a handful of GT300 teams that did a five-stop race.
Though the wrinkle of teams attempting to maximize their fuel windows on a four-stop strategy is gone, double-stinting sets of tyres, undercutting, and quick pitwork will become even more of a factor in the strategic game than before.