2022’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS calendar is now confirmed following the addition of three new circuits: the recently completed Mandalika in Indonesia, as well as Japanese venues Sugo and Okayama.
The sweeping calendar changes, which will also see the previously announced Japan Cup incorporated into all four Japanese rounds, have encouraged championship organiser SRO Motorsports Group to evaluate, create and maximise fresh concepts on the continent.
These include the addition of GT2 and GTC machinery, which will create a truly multi-class spectacle alongside the established GT3 and GT4 categories. All four can now compete in Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS and the Japan Cup.
Points counting towards the new Japan Cup classifications will be awarded at the two existing and unchanged Japanese rounds – Suzuka and Fuji in July – as well as Sugo and Okayama, which now make their Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS debuts in August and September, respectively.
Sugo in northern Japan is the country’s largest motorsport venue and regularly hosts the likes of Super Formula and Super GT, while Michael Schumacher won both Pacific Grand Prix at Okayama in 1994 and ’95 when it was known as TI Circuit Aida.
The timing and location of these two new rounds, which replace Chang International Circuit and Sepang’s second date, allows teams to contest two thirds of the overall championship in one country during a two-month period over the summer. This reduces the logistical costs and environmental impact of all participants while also ensuring the Japan Cup remains a compact and convenient element of the larger continental series.
As in previous years, some Japanese teams and drivers are expected to contest Asia’s entire season. However, the Japan Cup is also aimed at local operations eager to dovetail their existing endurance racing commitments with a condensed sprint programme. To that end, all four dates avoid domestic clashes with Super GT and Super Taikyu.
The Japan Cup is open to Pro-Am and Am crews racing GT2, GT3, GT4 and GTC (Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo, Ferrari 488 Challenge, Porsche Carrera Cup) cars. All eligible drivers must be JAF license holders.
2022: THREE NEW CIRCUITS AND INDONESIA’S DEBUT
The overall championship, which continues to feature 12 one-hour races, is still due to begin at Sepang in Malaysia next May ahead of Japan’s quadruple header from July until September.
After that it’s on to Mandalika, a new permanent semi-street circuit located on the scenic Indonesian island of Lombok that will host Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS’s season finale next October. The 4.3km track held its first major event, the FIM Superbike World Championship, last month and is scheduled to welcome MotoGP early next year.
Benjamin Franassovici, championship co-director: “It’s been two years since SRO Motorsports Group last staged a race or championship in Asia so it’s important to return with fresh ideas and an exciting calendar. I think the Japan Cup, new classes and three circuits making their championship debuts achieves just that.
“On the one hand Japan’s domestic GT environment is overwhelmingly geared towards endurance racing. On the other, Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS’s Japanese rounds, which feature two 60-minute races, have traditionally attracted healthy numbers of local entries. Our subsequent research and consultation with potential teams suggests there is indeed an appetite for just such a sprint championship. We see Japan Cup offering teams an opportunity to expand their operations, just as GT3 and GT4 has done in Europe. And because we are keen to work within the existing market, it also feels right to accept GT2 and GTC entries.
“I think the likes of Sugo and Okayama also add a degree of excitement, prestige and mystery to the calendar in their own right, regardless of the Japan Cup element we’re introducing. Mandalika, meanwhile, is an incredible new venue that deserves its place on any Asian championship’s schedule.”
Sepang opens 2022’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS season on May 20-22.
Sepang International Circuit 20-22 May
Suzuka International Circuit Japan Cup 15-17 July
Fuji International Speedway Japan Cup 22-24 July
Sportsland Sugo Japan Cup 19-21 August
Okayama International Circuit Japan Cup 23-25 September
Mandalika International Circuit 21-23 October
Source. SRO Motorsports Group