> Chinese Grand Prix venue hosts first races since 2019 finale
> Sugo stages standalone Fanatec Japan Cup event
Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS makes its long-awaited return to China next season, while SRO Motorsports Group will also stage a standalone Fanatec Japan Cup event for the first time.
A provisional and limited calendar was first revealed at the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa on July 1. But SRO can now announce the full extent of its biggest-ever Asian schedule, which includes seven events across four countries.
Shanghai’s return is long overdue – the Chinese Grand Prix venue last featured on Fanatec GT Asia’s calendar at the end of 2019 – and an important addition to any motorsport calendar in the region.
Sugo, meanwhile, was part of 2022’s schedule but returns as a separate Fanatec Japan Cup event not counting towards the overall Fanatec GT Asia classification. Its inclusion allows the burgeoning domestic category to remain at four weekends whilst easing logistical considerations for the majority of full-season entrants travelling from Southeast Asia to Japan.
SHANGHAI ROUNDS OUT SEASON SIX
The continent’s largest GT series, which also comprises one-quarter of SRO’s global Fanatec GT World Challenge, will once again feature six events and 12x 60-minute races in 2024.
Sepang hosts this season’s finale but is reverting to its traditional early slot next year so that cars and equipment can be road-hauled to Thailand in time for rounds three and four. Malaysia’s April date is one month earlier than the championship’s recent curtain raisers but in line with its pre-pandemic calendars.
While teams contesting the Fanatec Japan Cup then compete separately at Sugo, the majority will move on to Fuji for rounds five and six of the regular season towards the end of June. Suzuka and Okayama then follow in July and August, just as they do this year.
With the four-event Fanatec Japan Cup campaign complete, all eyes will then be on China and 2024’s overall championship decider when Shanghai rounds out the season on a still to be confirmed date.
Benjamin Franassovici, Championship General Manager: “Returning to China was our number one priority and next year represents the first realistic opportunity to do that since 2019. A significant number of Chinese teams and drivers have been able to race with us again this year, which is reflected in the addition of our Fanatec China Cup classification. The final step is to have an event in the country, and there is no better place for that than Shanghai, which was a series mainstay in 2017-19.
“Japan also remains a very important outpost for SRO and the time is now right to stage our first-ever standalone event there. Seven full-season rounds aren’t viable but the separate weekend at Sugo makes a lot of sense. New teams and drivers can sample SRO’s environment without the added pressure of Fanatec GT Asia, there will be fewer cars, the same level of TV production and an even greater emphasis on Japanese-led communication and coordination.
“We are also still evaluating how Fanatec Japan Cup fits within Fanatec GT Asia next year. The two could, for instance, be separated but still share the same weekends at Suzuka, Fuji and Okayama. It really depends on the feedback we receive from teams over the coming weeks. Their input will help shape the championship going forwards.”
April 20-21 // Sepang // Fanatec GT Asia // 2x 60-minute races
May 11-12 // Chang // Fanatec GT Asia // 2x 60-minute races
June 8-9 // Sugo // Fanatec Japan Cup // 2x 60-minute races
June 22-23 // Fuji // Fanatec GT Asia & Japan Cup // 2x 60-minute races
July 13-14 // Suzuka // Fanatec GT Asia & Japan Cup // 2x 60-minute races
August 24-25 // Okayama // Fanatec GT Asia & Japan Cup // 2x 60-minute races
TBC // Shanghai // Fanatec GT Asia // 2x 60-minute races