Super GT/DTM Fuji joint races to follow DTM-style format

by James Eagles
Masaaki Bandoh & Gerhard Berger - SUPER GT x DTM Dream Race

The SUPER GT and DTM series have confirmed more details regarding their joint race weekend at Fuji Speedway in November, predominantly following the DTM’s race format.

The “SUPER GT x DTM Dream Race” weekend will take place on 22-24 November at the legendary Japanese track, and will be the second merger weekend of the year between the two series.

The support programme will feature a sprint race between the GT300 cars, the class below SUPER GT’s premier category – GT500.

It was previously speculated that two full race meetings could happen – one in Europe and one in Japan – but the decision to have a standalone event was made in February.

But, before the Fuji race, driver representatives from Honda, Lexus and Nissan will take part in the DTM season finale in October at Hockenheim – giving European fans a chance to see the two series together in the flesh.

Demonstration runs featuring the two series previously took place at Hockenheim and Motegi in 2017 to positive receptions.

SUPER GT and DTM’s respective bosses, Masaaki Bandoh and Gerhard Berger, confirmed the details of the meeting in a press conference held at the Fuji round of the SUPER GT championship on Saturday.

There will be two 55-minute plus one lap races split between the Saturday and Sunday, mirroring the DTM’s sporting regulations, with a mandatory pitstop.

In a further move away from SUPER GT endurance regulations, “refuelling [and] driver changes are prohibited”.

DTM’s sole tyre supplier Hankook will prove a control “Ventus Race” tyre for all cars, but the DTM cars will lose the ability to use DRS and the push-to-pass system.

Bandoh, chairman of SUPER GT’s organisers GTA, said that this is the culmination of nine years of discussion.

“GTA has been discussing the integration of the technical regulations with ITR since 2010,” said Bandoh.

“It’s been a long and bumpy road; but, with everybody’s efforts, we were able to conduct a demo run at Hockenheim in 2017 and make people aware of ‘CLASS 1’ and SUPER GT.

SUPER GT/DTM Demonstration - Hockenheim 2017
Credit: DTM

“Both GTA and ITR have been working steadily together to create the common technical regulations for ‘CLASS 1’.

“Having the common conviction that the same technical regulations could be established in Europe and Asia, we then developed detailed plans and held advanced discussions to establish regulations which help to unify, while also reducing costs.

“We are very pleased to be able to hold a race based on the ‘CLASS 1’ regulations in Japan and would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to chairman Berger and the manufacturers,” he continued.

“We now wish to further develop our common technical regulations in order to gain the support and understanding of as many manufacturers as possible.”

10-time Formula 1 grand prix winner Berger, chairman of the ITR – the equivalent of the GTA, said that this gives both series the chance to fulfil their number one priority; to deliver ” genuine, exciting motorsport” in Europe and Asia.

“On behalf of the ITR and all the manufacturers represented in the DTM, I would like to thank Bandoh-san, the GTA, and the representatives of Fuji Speedway for their continued co-operation,” said Berger.

“Our co-operation works so well because we share the same values: genuine, exciting motorsport is always our top priority. And that’s what we want to offer our fans in both Europe and Asia.

“The ‘Dream Race’ in November marks another milestone in the partnership between GTA and ITR.

In 2017, we hosted the first joint demo laps for SUPER GT and DTM cars at Hockenheim and Motegi. Last year, we introduced our common technical regulations.

“And this year, we will be racing together for the first time.

“We’ll get our first taste of that at the DTM season finale in Hockenheim, in October, when we welcome three guest starters from Honda, Nissan and Lexus.

“Then the ‘Dream Race’ in Fuji will be the grand finale of our 2019 motorsport calendar.”

It is believed that 10 DTM cars will make the trip to Japan, with Audi, Aston Martin and BMW all represented, but driver selections are to be announced at a “later date”.

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