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Qualifying Format Could Be Changed Mid-Season

Rule change to allow new tires to be used in both Q1, Q2 looks set for introduction at Round 5 at Suzuka…


SUPER GT’s new-for-2024 qualifying format appears set to undergo a mid-season shakeup, Sportscar365 has learned.

The Japanese series made several radical rule changes ahead of the current season, including an aggregate qualifying system and a rule that mandates the same set of tires must be used in both segments of qualifying as well as the start of the race.

However, these have not proven universally popular and it now appears that the organising body, the GTA, has agreed to make changes.

GTA chairman Masaaki Bandoh admitted in his regular press conference at the previous round at Suzuka last month that changes could be considered to the qualifying format, such as allowing cars to use new tires for both Q1 and Q2.

It’s understood that this change is set to be implemented in both classes, along with a requirement that both sets of tires are also used in the race.

For standard 300km races that feature only one pitstop, teams will in effect be obliged to reuse both sets of tires from qualifying in the race.

In addition, the system of aggregate qualifying for the GT300 class looks set to be scrapped entirely, with the lower class set to revert to a more traditional format.

This comes following complaints from drivers and teams that the system doesn’t provide a level playing field given that the field is split into two groups for Q1 due to concerns about traffic, with a lottery dictating which group runs first.

The system used in GT300, which sees the cars drawn into new groups for Q2 and contains a provision for the fastest four cars from the ‘lower’ group to jump the slowest cars in the ‘upper’ group, has also come in for criticism for being overly complex.

There is already a provision in the rules for aggregate qualifying to be scrapped for GT300 when it is wet on the grounds of fairness.

The changes look likely to be implemented for Round 5 at Suzuka in late August, which would mean the existing format stays in place for the next round at Fuji Speedway.

Jamie Klein is Sportscar365's Asian editor. Japan-based Klein, who previously worked for Motorsport Network on the Motorsport.cоm and Autosport titles, covers the FIA World Endurance Championship and SUPER GT, among other series.

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