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Intercontinental GT Challenge

IGTC Settles On Three-Round Season; No Suzuka Replacement

SRO opts against replacement round for Suzuka 10H; no Gulf region visit…

Photo: Kevin Pecks/SRO

The upcoming Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season will consist of only three rounds after series organizer SRO Motorsports Group announced that it has dropped plans to find a replacement event for the canceled Suzuka 10 Hours.

The IGTC had been looking to arrange for a new round to be held in the Gulf region this winter, but that proposal has been scrapped.

An SRO statement on Tuesday said that a “combination of calendar clashes, budget implications and general suitability” led to the decision not to pursue a new fourth round.

The Suzuka 10 Hours, which was due to take place on Aug. 20-22, was canceled by the local organizer in March in response to Japan’s domestic and border restrictions put in place to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

 The 24 Hours of Spa, now known as the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa for sponsorship reasons, will open the IGTC campaign on July 29-Aug. 1.

It will be followed by the championship’s second visit to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for an eight-hour race on Oct. 15-17.

The season will end in South Africa at the Kyalami 9 Hour on Dec. 2-4.

The Spa and Indianapolis races both double up as rounds of the IGTC and the regional Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS series in North America and Europe.

“We invested much time and energy into finding a replacement event that would uphold Intercontinental’s purpose of uniting the world’s great GT endurance races,” said SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel.

“And although several options would have achieved this aim, each also presented a new set of challenges to overcome.

“Given the current global situation, I believe it is better to focus our energies on IGTC’s three existing rounds.

“I would like to thank each of the parties and promoters for their positive collaboration and hope to work with them again in the future.

“Indeed, although Intercontinental won’t be visiting the Middle East this year I remain confident that these discussions will subsequently allow us to explore fresh opportunities.”

The 2021 IGTC will mark the championship’s first three-round season since the second campaign in 2017 when the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, 24 Hours of Spa and California 8 Hours at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca formed the schedule.

It expanded to four rounds in 2018 with the addition of Suzuka, while Kyalami was introduced the following year to create a five-leg championship.

The IGTC reverted to four rounds last year when Suzuka was canceled due to the pandemic, while both the Japanese race and the Bathurst 12H were called off in 2021.

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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