Suzuka 10 Hours: what you need to know

23 August 2018

> Provisional entry list: Suzuka 10 Hours

The Intercontinental GT Challenge touches down in Japan this weekend for the inaugural Suzuka 10 Hours.

The event, jointly administered by SRO Motorsports Group, Super GT organisers GT Association, and Suzuka’s management company Mobilityland Corporation, features some unique elements compared to the other three Intercontinental GT Challenge rounds. This is your guide to the 47th Summer Endurance Race…

THE RACE

This year’s race – the first at Suzuka staged over 10 hours – builds on the legacy of the historic figure-of-eight circuit’s previous 1000-kilometre event. Although best known previously as Super GT’s blue riband round, the race has also featured on the FIA GT Championship, BPR Series, World Sportscar Championship and All-Japan Sports Prototype Championship schedules since its establishment in 1966. Collectively, these events are known as the Summer Endurance Race. This year’s 10-hour format will be the longest in its 47-year history.

Suzuka has also replaced Sepang as the Intercontinental GT Challenge’s sole event in Asia.

Pirelli has been chosen as the event’s official sole tyre supplier while prize money totalling 100-million Yen will be distributed across all classes.

THE CARS

The 35 entries feature 15 cars eligible to score Intercontinental GT Challenge Manufacturers’ Championship points, while two more cars include drivers contesting the Bronze title.

This is the first time that FIA GT3 cars – the mainstay of Intercontinental GT Challenge – will have competed equally for overall honours against their Japanese GT300, ST-X and JAF GT counterparts.

GT300 and ST-X are the classifications used by Super GT and Super Taikyu, respectively, to describe FIA GT3 specifications, while JAF GT is unique to Super GT. These cars, two of which are competing this weekend, are stylised versions of their road-going counterparts. Very few parts are carried over from the production model; in the case of Cars Tokai Dream28’s Evora it’s just the Lotus badge, windscreen wiper and door handles!

JAF GT cars feature the same Mother Chassis (MC) originally designed by Japanese manufacturer, Dome. To ensure parity, they are pegged against their rivals using SRO Motorsports Group’s trusted Balance of Performance regulations. These are already licensed by Super GT organisers, GTA, to maintain a level playing field during the full-season GT300 championship and at Suzuka.

EVENT FORMAT

Two Paid Practice and two more Free Practice sessions take place on Thursday and Friday before qualifying is staged on Saturday. The race itself starts on Sunday morning and runs through sunset into dusk.

Qualifying – BBS Time Attack

• 4x 15-minute sessions decide the grid: Q1, Q2, Q3 and Pole Shootout.
• All three drivers per car must set a time in each session.
• The fastest laps from each session are combined to decide the quickest 20 cars, which then progress to the Pole Shootout.
• The crew’s highest categorised driver must contest the Pole Shootout, which will decide the top-20 grid positons. Teams with drivers of the same categorisation must nominate their Pole Shootout candidate before qualifying begins.
• Only the fastest flying lap per car will count.
• All cars will be on track at the same time and may complete as many laps as possible.

Race

There are several additional classes within the overall classification:
• Pro: no restriction on driver gradings as per the FIA’s official categorisation
• Pro/Am: Platinum or Gold/Bronze/Bronze or Silver/Silver or Bronze/Bronze
• Am: Bronze/Bronze/Bronze
• Asia: Crews comprising two or more Asian/Australian drivers

Points count towards the Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ titles on the following basis. These are the same for all Intercontinental GT Challenge rounds.

• 1st 25 | 2nd 18 | 3rd 15 | 4th 12 | 5th 10 | 6th 8 | 7th 6 | 8th 4 | 9th 2 | 10th 1

Only the top-two entries nominated by manufacturers to score Intercontinental GT Challenge Manufacturers’ points will do so.

Driver stints

• There are no specific pit windows.
• Maximum continuous driving time per driver: 180 minutes
• Maximum duration of one stint: 65 minutes
• Maximum driving time across 10 hours: 180 minutes
• Minimum driving time per driver across 10 hours: 60 minutes
• Anyone driving longer than 140 minutes consecutively must take a compulsory one-hour rest

Pitstops

• Pitstops that include refuelling are subject to a minimum pitstop time, which starts and stops when the car enters and exits the pitlane. At Suzuka this is provisionally 82 seconds.
• A drive-through penalty will be issued to teams that complete pitstops under the minimum time.
• Any pitstop conducted without refuelling is not subject to the minimum pitstop time.

Pirelli tyre allocation

• Teams are permitted to use 15 sets of dry tyres and another 10 sets of wets across the event.
• An additional four ‘joker’ tyres may be used in the event of damage sustained to the regular allocation.

Timetable (all times JST)

Thursday 23 August
11:30 – 13:00: Parade and public scrutineering
16:15 – 18:15: Paid Practice 1

Friday 24 August
09:40 – 11:40: Paid Practice 2
13:50 – 15:50: Free Practice 1
18:30 – 20:00: Free Practice 2

Saturday 25 August
13:00 – 13:15: Qualifying 1
13:30 – 13:45: Qualifying 2
14:00 – 14:15: Qualifying 3
14:45 – 15:00: Pole Shootout

Sunday 26 August
08:00 – 08:20: Warm-up
10:00 – 20:00: Race