A landmark announcement was made today from Suzuka Circuit at the Suzuka Circuit Motorsports Fan Appreciation Day, as Japan’s Great Race, the International Suzuka 1000km, will evolve into the Suzuka 10 Hour Endurance Race from 2018 onwards.
With the change in distance also comes the bittersweet announcement that the summer endurance race at Suzuka will no longer serve as the crown jewel event of the Autobacs Super GT Series after the 2017 season.
Mobilityland Corporation president Susumu Yamashita, and Stéphane Ratel of the Stéphane Ratel Organisation (SRO) were on hand at Suzuka to make the big announcement of the new event, which will be organized by the SRO, and the GT Association, the promoter and sanctioning body of the Autobacs Super GT Series.
The 47th Suzuka 10 Hour Endurance Race will be promoted as a “dream race” between the JAF-GT300 cars from Super GT, as well as the top FIA GT3 cars and teams from Super GT and the Super Taikyu Endurance Series.
To attract the top teams from around the GT3 racing world, such as the Blancpain GT Series and Pirelli World Challenge, the Suzuka 10 Hours will award a prize of 100 million Japanese Yen (¥100,000,000).
In its planning phases, the 47th Suzuka 10 Hours – the “47th edition” confirming its place in the lineage of the 1000km that has been run since 1966 – will be held from August 23rd to August 26th, 2018, with the 10 hour race to start at 10:30 AM on Sunday the 26th, and end at 8:30 PM the same day.
Yamashita says that the Suzuka 10 Hours will maintain the festive atmosphere of the Suzuka 1000km, with the aim of cultivating it at a larger scale, one that holds new value for the entrants, the fans, and everyone else involved.
It was originally thought that the Suzuka 10 Hours would join the calendar of the 2018 SRO Intercontinental GT Challenge, alongside the likes of the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and the Bathurst 12 Hour race. However, Ratel confirmed that the event will not be part of the Challenge in 2018, saying that “nothing is decided for the future.”
As for Super GT at Suzuka, circuit president Yamashita made it clear that the series will continue to host a race at Suzuka, as it has every year since 1995.
Yamashita said that he wants to host a new Super GT event at the circuit, at a new date and distance, with an announcement of the new event to come some time before the 46th -and final – running of the Suzuka 1000km as we know it today.
Susumu Yamashita, Mobilityland Co. Ltd. President: “First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation and respect for both partners; the GT Association and the SRO Motorsports Group, here today with us, for their collaboration in the realisation of this promising project. We are proud to announce that in August of 2018, the Suzuka Circuit will host as a new project the 47th end-of-summer Endurance Race in the new format of a 10-hour endurance race, as a new project.”
“In collaboration, the Suzuka Circuit will provide the dream stage where worldwide GT series will gather in the prospect of future worldwide expansion. We are determined to, together with the entire local region, fully support the event, the public, the entrants and all of those involved in this promising project. By implementing this new project, we aim to create and nourish a brand new festive summer style which will certainly also promote new values.”
“This summer Suzuka Circuit will host the last SUPER GT Series 1000km race at Suzuka. Hence, we will also be devoting ourselves to detailed preparations in order to assure the hosting of a further innovative and appealing 2018 Suzuka Round SUPER GT Series, which will include updates in race distance and event date.”
Masaaki Bandoh, GT Association Co. Ltd. President: “Following the GT Association vision concept, this new project will constitute one more link and step into the globalisation of the SUPER GT Series. We are and will continue working close together in the effort of establishing this race in the calendar as one of the rounds that will unify the GT300 in South East Asia.”
“Concerning the new race format for the Suzuka Round SUPER GT Series in 2018 and onwards we are determined to, together with Mobilityland, bring to the circuit and to the enthusiasts much new excitement and emotion. We are determined to provide the ultimate environment that continues to invite and satisfy the vast public and motorsports fans.”
Stephane Ratel, SRO Motorsports Group Founder and CEO: “I am very excited to be here at Suzuka Circuit today to officially unveil the 47th Summer Endurance Suzuka 10 Hours. SRO fully supports this new project undertaken by Mobilityland.”
“We are at a legendary circuit that is highly valued both in Europe and Asia. It is therefore a most appropriate platform to host a global GT race and write another chapter in the Suzuka Circuit’s long and valuable history.”
“SRO will fully embrace the event by supporting champions from our numerous affiliated global categories and those teams currently competing in the European and Asian Blancpain GT Series to ensure that it flourishes and becomes a success.”