Category Archives: Commentary

Unpacking the Final Suzuka 1000km

At the crossover point of being as far removed from the 46th and final International Suzuka 1000km as we are to the approach of the penultimate round of the Autobacs Super GT Series, it’s as good a time as any to look back on a landmark event for the series.

Emotional upset victories. Star-making performances. Instances of triumph and heartbreak. And the one-off arrival of a game-changing superstar. It was all on display three weeks ago at Suzuka.

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Celebrating the women of Super GT

March 8th is recognized as International Women’s Day, and there’s few better occasions to celebrate the women who have contributed to the Autobacs Super GT Series in a meaningful and impactful way, and those who seem set to follow in their footsteps, competitors and non-competitors alike.

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How to cope with losing your biggest race: What’s next for Super GT?

When I awoke to the news that the 2017 running of the International Suzuka 1000km would be the last, as the Stéphane Ratel Organisation (SRO) and GT Association (GTA) announced at Suzuka Circuit a new ten-hour endurance sports car race held in the same traditional late August date from 2018 onward, I have to admit, I was shocked, blindsided even.

In fairness, I was also awake at the incredibly stupid hour of 3:00 AM, running on a busted sleep schedule. And also, I was thousands of miles away from the awesome sights and sounds of the Suzuka Circuit Motorsports Fan Appreciation Day that was taking place when the announcement was made that might have softened the blow. But that’s not really that important.

What is important is that the announcement of the Suzuka 10 Hour Endurance Race (working title), or the Suzuka 10 Hours for short (a nod to the classic Suzuka 8 Hours motorcycle race and arcade game that spawned from it) – it’s a landmark day for endurance sports car racing, a landmark day for Japanese motorsport. It’s a very, very big deal. A longer distance, a new premier category, open invitations to international teams, and a nine-figure total purse of winnings at stake.

The shock, and to many Super GT fans, the sadness and/or the frustration, comes in that Super GT, home to the fastest GT racing cars in the world, the highest-attended national racing category in Japan, has just lost its biggest race on the calendar starting next year. But before getting into that, now that the shock of the announcement has worn off, we need to realize that the sky has not completely fallen and crashed. This is the end of the Suzuka 1000km, but it really isn’t.

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Will Honda return to form in 2017?

With the combination of a new car, a new team, a new project leader, yet mostly the same driver lineup from last season, Honda supporters are hoping that 2017 will be the year that they get back on par with Nissan and Lexus in the Autobacs Super GT Series.

2016 represented rock bottom for Honda’s Super GT project, going without a race win for the first time since 1997, occupying the bottom of the GT500 points table, and suffering the withdrawal of one of their newest flagship teams after just two seasons. But there’s a cautious optimism that Honda can turn it around, and return to their winning ways in 2017.

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