Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli touches down in Japan this weekend for round four of its 2019 campaign: the 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 48th Summer Endurance Race…
This year’s race – only the second 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.
Suzuka stages Asia’s sole leg of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, which also visits Australasia, North America, Europe and Africa this year.
#IntGTC’s full-season manufacturers – Audi Sport, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Mercedes-AMG, Nissan and Porsche – can all nominate a maximum of four entries to score points. Additional Bronze Drivers’ Championship entries are also permitted.
Prize money totalling 100-million Yen will be distributed across all classes:
Overall 1st – ¥30m 2nd – ¥10m 3rd – ¥5m 4th, 5th, 6th etc
Pro/Am 1st – ¥2m 2nd – ¥1m 3rd – ¥500,000
Silver 1st – ¥2m 2nd – ¥1m 3rd – ¥500,000
Am 1st – ¥1m 2nd – ¥500,000 3rd – ¥250,000
Asian crew 1st – ¥3m 2nd – ¥2m 3rd – ¥1m
Super GT 1st – ¥5m 2nd – ¥3m 3rd – ¥1m
Super Taikyu 1st – ¥2m 2nd – ¥1m 3rd – ¥500,000
Spa-Suzuka Cup winners will be awarded a trophy for completing the most cumulative laps across the two events.
The 36 entries feature 26 cars eligible to score Intercontinental GT Challenge Manufacturers’ Championship points, while one more includes drivers contesting the Bronze title.
The name ‘GT3’ is widely used around the world to describe the class of supercar competing this weekend. However, in Japan, GT300 (Super GT Series) and ST-X (Super Taikyu) are used instead.
There is one exception to the GT3 homologation at Suzuka: Cars Tokai Dream28’s Lotus Evora MC, a stylised version of its road-going counterpart. Very few components are carried over from the production model; in the case of the Evora it’s just the Lotus badge, windscreen wiper and door handles! These Mother Chassis (hence the ‘MC’) all use the same Dome-designed chassis and spec 4.5-litre V8 engine. 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.
Two Paid Practice – the first solely for amateur drivers – and two more Free Practice sessions take place on Thursday and Friday before a final practice session and four qualifying segments are staged on Saturday. Sunday’s race starts in the morning and runs through sunset into darkness.
Qualifying – Time Attack and Pole Shootout
• 3x 15-minute qualifying sessions plus 1x 20-minute 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 positions. 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. However, during the Pole Shootout, any driver coming into the pitlane and stopping in front of their pit garage will have all their times set up to that moment cancelled.
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, Gold or Silver/Bronze/Bronze
• Silver: Maximum of three Silver drivers
• Am: Bronze/Bronze/Bronze
• Asia: Crews comprising two or more Asian 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 full-season manufacturers to score Intercontinental GT Challenge Manufacturers’ points can do so.
• There are no specific pit windows.
• Maximum continuous driving time per driver: 180 minutes
• Maximum duration of one stint is 65 minutes. This will be extended to 70 minutes while the safety car is on track or if a Full Course Yellow period is in operation.
• Maximum driving time across 10 hours: 270 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 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 84 seconds.
• A drive-through penalty will be issued to teams that complete pitstops under the minimum time.
• A one-second tolerance may be used three times during the event.
• 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.
• Cars contesting the Pole Shootout are granted an additional set of tyres for that session and warm-up.
• An additional four ‘joker’ tyres may be used in the event of damage sustained to the regular allocation.
Watch the race live here on IntercontinentalGTChallenge.com plus the championship's Facebook page and SRO’s GT World Youtube channel in the company of Sam Colllins, Sonia Ito and Ronnie Quintarelli from 09:30 JST (GMT +9) this Sunday.
TIMETABLE – ALL TIMES JST (GMT +9)
FRIDAY 23 AUGUST
08:45 – 09:45: Paid Practice – Bronze Test
10:00 – 12:00: Paid Practice
14:10 – 16:10: Free Practice (Evening)
18:30 – 20:00: Free Practice (Night)
SATURDAY 24 AUGUST
09:15 – 10:15: Free Practice
13:00 – 13:15: Qualifying 1
13:30 – 13:45: Qualifying 2
14:00 – 14:15: Qualifying 3
17:30 – 17:50: Pole Shootout (Top-20)
SUNDAY 25 AUGUST
08:05 – 08:20: Warm-up
10:00 – 20:00: Race