The Super Taikyu Endurance Series will welcome two new types of vehicle for the 2017 season, as the TCR touring car and FIA GT4 categories will be added as part of their own classes of competition beginning next season.
The announcement was made on Friday, during Super Taikyu’s 2016 prize-giving event. The two fastest-growing groups of customer car racing will make their debut in 2017, with TCR vehicles participating in the new “ST-R” class, and FIA GT4 cars running in the new “ST-Z” class, which will be slotted in between the top-level ST-X Class for FIA GT3 cars, and the ST-1 class for cars with 3500 cc of engine displacement and up.
Established in 2011 as a cost-effective alternative to the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) by former WTCC head Marcello Lotti, TCR has rapidly grown since it was first launched in 2015, with over 15 TCR series being run in 2017 all around the world – headlined by the TCR International Series and the newly-established 24H Touring Car Endurance Series, sanctioned by Creventic.
Audi’s new RS 3 LMS will be one of the cars participating in the new ST-R category, with Audi Japan providing extensive support to their customer teams from the factory as they have done in Super GT.
FIA GT4 has seen a rapid growth of development heading into 2017, spurned by the introduction of several new GT4 cars such as the Mercedes-AMG GT4 (above), the McLaren 570S GT4, BMW M4 GT4, and the revamped Porsche Cayman Clubsport GT4. These cars will run in the new ST-Z category.
With the new eight-class structure established for 2017, Super Taikyu aims on sending its best teams to international endurance races in the near future, in a statement from series president Haruki Kuwayama.
The 2017 season begins with a 3 hour, 20 minute race at Twin Ring Motegi on April 2nd.