Outline
SUPER GT OUTLINE
OUTLINE
The origin of the Super GT is the All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship (JGTC), which started in 1993. In 2005 this became a new series with a name change — the Super GT. In 2005 each race attracted an average of 48,172, confirming the Super GT as a popular series drawing the largest numbers of spectators in Japan.
VEHICLES
Grant Touring (GT) vehicles are race cars based on two-door sports cars, with styling that is wider and lower than production cars. They feature aero parts to give them a dynamic shape. Inside the cars, the position of the engine, the type of drive system, and the suspension are all changed, while the use of pipe frames is permitted for the frame and in front and behind the cockpit, turning the vehicles into full racing cars.

The GT500 class, which features vehicles outputting around 500 horsepower, is attracting private teams using foreign cars centered on the works cars of Nissan, Toyota, and Honda. Nissan is entering a Fairlady Z, now in its third season, modified particularly in the aerodynamics and engine areas. Among Nissan’s rival teams, Honda switched in the middle of last year from a turbo to a non-aspirated engine (a 3.5-liter V6). Toyota, while continuing with two Supra entries, is also now entering a Lexus SC430 with a non-aspirated V8 4.5-liter engine like the Supra. And Team Goh, which dominated the 2004 Le Mans 24 Hours, will enter (halfway through the series) a Maserati MC12, which will also perform in the FIA GT Championship. This year’s GT is attracting new race cars, and will be once again a series not to be missed.

The GT300 class, which outputs around 300 horsepower, is attracting private teams entering such cars as the Nissan Fairlady Z, the Toyota Celica, the Toyota MR-S, Porsche, and Ferrari. Newcomers like the Ford GT40 and the Shiden will also make a showing and provide plenty of interest.
RACES
In each race, around 40 cars (total of the two classes) will line up on the starting grid. Almost every race in both classes will be closely fought, with top speeds in the GT 500 class reaching nearly 300 km/h. And combining cars from both classes will result in thrilling mixed races that will have spectators on the edge of their seats. In addition, a 300-kilometer semi-endurance race featuring two or three drivers for each car (the 3rd race at Fuji will be 500 kms) will ensure an interesting spectacle in the pits as the teams battle to carry out work and change drivers at top speed. The traditional 1,000-km race held at Suzuka as a rite of midsummer will be added to the series races (as the 6th race). The Suzuka 1,000-km race will produce additional bonus points, and each car will have three drivers.

In two-day competitions, the first day will feature preliminaries, and the second the finals. As a support events, single-make races and tuning car demonstration performances will also be held. Such events as driver talk shows and “race queen” photo sessions will also be offered, and the pit walk held around lunchtime will allow spectators to get close to cars, drivers, and “race queens” and get their autographs. In addition, more than 100 “race queens” will make a circuit and this will add glamour and excitement to the events.

Championships are raced by drivers and teams. In the GT500 class, competitors in Nissan cars took the driver’s title in 1993 – 1995, 1998, 1999, 2003, and 2004. NISMO has also won six team titles (in 1993, 1998, 2001, 2003 – 2005) and hopes to make it four in a row this year.

While series points were previously aggregated over all the races in the series, now that races and rounds have increased to nine, this year an effective points system (for five races) will be applied to the 6th race, and all points achieved in the 7th – 9th races will be added.
INTERNATIONAL
In 2005, the Super GT changed from an all-Japan championship domestic series to an international event centered on the Pacific rim. In Malaysia (Sepang), GT races were held as special events in 2000 and 2001, and from 2002 these special events were elevated to series races. (The Malaysia race was moved to Fuji in 2003 because of the SARS outbreak.) Then, in 2004, an All Star race was held in the United States (California). Japan’s GT Association (GTA), which controls the GT races, has thought about expanding its market overseas for some time. In 2005, the JGTC was reborn as an international series with races held in several countries, including the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) in Germany and the V8 Supercar events held in Australia and New Zealand.

As a result, the Super GT can now be expected to receive overseas sponsorship and attract participants from offshore. In fact, a move has arisen to seek more contact with the FIA GT Championship.

In addition to TV broadcasts by satellite, the Super GT is also covered by terrestrial broadcasts. Overseas, the races are relayed to Europe, Asia, and North America, and there are now many avid fans around the world.