Super GT introduces live onboard television cameras for 2017 and beyond

Television coverage of the Autobacs Super GT Series will receive a major boost in production starting with the next round at Sportsland SUGO on July 23.

On Saturday, the GT Association announced the re-introduction of live onboard camera footage for race broadcasts, after testing new technology that would make live onboards with zero to insignifant delay a possibility.

Live onboard cameras will make their return for 2017 and beyond during J Sports’ live coverage of the Sugo GT 300km Race later this month.

For years, Super GT races haven’t included live on-board footage as part of the broadcasts. That footage is usually saved for tape-delayed broadcasts, such as TV Tokyo’s Super GT+ magazine show, and J Sports’ special onboard highlights shows, usually shown 1-2 weeks after the race concludes.

Super GT experimented with live onboard cameras during a race during the 2016 Fuji GT 300km Race, as they re-broadcasted the online camera feed from the #61 Subaru BRZ R&D Sport – which went on to finish third and enjoyed a competitive race.

However, J Sports had to compensate for a delay of several seconds between the live pictures and the onboard feed from Subaru, so it was abandoned after a single race.

Unlike most other major series like Formula 1, Super GT does not have a helicopter transmitting the relay signals from the onboard cameras back into the broadcast satellites – so the need to develop new technology was important.

Over the course of the two official Super GT test sessions, at Sugo on June 17-18, and at Suzuka on June 30-July 1, the series took the time to test out a new system that provided an uninterrupted relay for the entire lap at Sugo, and for every bit of Suzuka excluding Spoon Curve.

Over the course of the two tests, they were also able to cut down the latency of the onboard pictures down to an acceptable margin.

Onboard cameras will be featured on the official vehicles and Honda NSX Safety Car for the Sugo round, though no onboard cameras for race vehicles have yet been confirmed. Autobacs Racing Team Aguri and NISMO did the testing for the new camera system at Sugo & Suzuka, so we may be seeing some onboard shots of the #8 ARTA NSX-GT and the #23 Motul Autech GT-R during the race at Sugo.

At any rate, it’s a big breakthrough for Super GT on the television side of things.


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