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GT World Challenge Asia

Mandalika Among Three New Tracks in Updated Calendar

Mandalika, Sugo, Okayama added as GTWC Asia overhauls second half of 2022 schedule…

Photo: Pirelli

Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS has issued a heavily revised 2022 season calendar highlighted by the arrivals of the Mandalika, Sugo and Okayama tracks.

The new 2.67-mile, 17-turn Mandalika International Street Circuit was opened earlier this year and held its first major event, the Superbike World Championship season finale, last month.

Mandalika, which is located on the southern coast of Lombok island, is set to become the first Indonesian venue to host a GTWC Asia event.

The circuit has been put forward to host the 2022 season finale on October 21-23.

Sportsland Sugo and Okayama International Circuit are the other two additions to the schedule, which remains at six events but now has four rounds situated in Japan.

The calendar announcement follows last week’s launch of a new Japan Cup class within the main GTWC Asia championship.

Sepang in Malaysia is due to hold the season-opener on May 20-22 as originally planned. The events at Suzuka on July 15-17 and Fuji Speedway on July 22-24 are also unchanged from the provisional schedule that was released in October.

By contrast, the second half of the season has been completely overhauled with the introduction of three new circuits.

The proposed rounds at Buriram, Sepang and an unidentified venue in China have been scrapped, with Sugo coming on board with a date in August.

Okayama follows approximately one month later, rounding off a four-month mid-season Japanese leg.

All rounds will consist of two 60-minute races.

“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,” said GTWC Asia co-director Benjamin Franassovici.

“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.”

2022 Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS schedule
May 20-22 – Sepang
July 15-17 – Suzuka*
July 22-24 – Fuji*
Aug. 19-21 – Sugo*
Sep. 23-25 – Okayama*
Oct. 21-23 – Mandalika

*includes Japan Cup class

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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