> GT3 and GT4 classes split as precursor to potential new Japanese championship in 2024
SRO Motorsports Group will stage standalone GT4 races in Asia for the first time later this year when the Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS classes are split at Okayama on August 18-20.
‘GT4 Japan’ follows the same 2x 60-minute race format as Fanatec GT Asia, while each entry must also feature two drivers whose combination matches the Am-Am or Silver-Am criteria. Fanatec Japan Cup points will still be awarded, just as they are beforehand at Fuji, Suzuka and Motegi.
Okayama is the final round on this year’s Fanatec Japan Cup schedule and 2023’s penultimate Fanatec GT Asia weekend.
The exercise is a precursor to 2024 when GT4 will potentially move from Fanatec GT Asia into a new championship solely based in Japan. Precise details are still being finalised but SRO does expect GT4 to have a greater presence in Japan next year.
Benjamin Franassovici, Championship General Manager: “Asia’s customer base has clearly shifted towards the GT3 class since SRO staged its first season here in 2017. However, GT4 remains popular in Japan where the cars often compete in a multi-class endurance environment.
“Based on what we’ve learnt from the Fanatec Japan Cup, and after listening to existing and potential new customers, we are convinced there is an appetite for GT4’s domestic expansion there. For instance, 10 cars recently raced at Super Taikyu’s Fuji 24 Hours.
“That’s not to say we are in competition with Super Taikyu. Quite the opposite, in fact. A new sprint platform will complement their existing endurance format, offer GT4 teams another avenue to maximise their investment, and give drivers the opportunity to race more frequently. Europe and America both have very healthy GT4 environments thanks to their multiple GT4 series, and I see no reason why that cannot also be the case in Japan.
“Okayama’s GT4 Japan races are the first step towards achieving this. Of course, we would like to attract as many cars as possible, but equally we are not overly concerned about numbers. Instead, we are more interested in laying the foundations for 2024.”
Fuji stages Round 2 of this year’s Fanatec GT Asia campaign, as well as the Fanatec Japan Cup season opener, on June 16-18.