Masaaki Bandoh, chairman of Super GT organizer GT Association, is working with competing Japanese series to ease a busy period in the schedule for 2019 and avoid clashes between three of Japan’s leading championships.
The Super GT schedule is being designed with cooperation from Super Formula and Super Taikyu, to avoid logistical difficulties for competitors.
It will comprise eight rounds, including seven in Japan and a race at Buriram in Thailand.
Furthermore, inter-series races between DTM and the GT500 class are also set to be included, with exhibition races in Japan and at Hockenheim.
“We will have a meeting together with organizers and other race promoters so that we can discuss and arrange the schedule that is less tight for the teams and drivers,” said Bandoh.
This year, the proximity of Super GT, Super Taikyu and Super Formula events between March and May has caused issues for teams competing in multiple series.
“Speaking about May, this year Suzuka round was moved up from last year’s August, in consideration of the organizer’s request,” Bandoh explained.
“That however resulted in overcrowded schedule for those teams running multiple series.
“Even if we figure it is a feasible arrangement, there may be other races in between the second round at Fuji and the third round at Suzuka, and maybe even more after Suzuka which we cannot fully foresee.
“The Super GT calendar is blank between Suzuka and Thailand. However, there are other races in between May and June, that causes some teams to make frequent travels from west to east.
“I think it is time we as promoter should speak up for the series and teams. We would also like to talk with organizers so we can take the initiative in making the whole schedule.”
Senior figures from Super Formula organizer JRP visited the Suzuka round in May to discuss calendar arrangements with GTA.
“We are getting more conscious about creating proper environment for the teams,” said Bandoh.
“We want to create such environment where teams can continuously participate for mid to long term and where young drivers can join.”