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Intercontinental GT Challenge

IGTC to Stick with Four Rounds; Kyalami Moved to December

IGTC opts for reduced four-round schedule for 2020 as season finale moves to December…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

The Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli will run to a four-event schedule this year, while the Kyalami 9 Hour season finale has been pushed back to December.

Series organizer SRO Motorsports Group had considered adding an Asian round at a new circuit to make up for the Suzuka 10 Hours’ cancelation, but a decision has been taken to leave the season as it is with races in Australasia, North America, Europe and Africa.

The season will end at Kyalami for the second running of the South African venue’s revived enduro, although the date of this year’s edition has been shifted to Dec. 10-12.

This movement of three weeks from the original Nov. 21-22 date has been made to agree with logistical considerations, according to SRO.

The December weekend is designed to leave enough time to ship cars from the Total 24 Hours of Spa in October, whilst also maintaining enough of a gap to the 2021 season-opener which is due to take place at Bathurst next February.

It also pushes the IGTC season closer away from the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup finale beind held at Paul Ricard on Nov. 15.

Several teams and drivers have full-season commitments in both high-level GT3 championships, and the new Kyalami date is designed to give them time to contest both.

“Moving Kyalami back to mid-December is a common-sense decision that eases any logistical complications for teams travelling from Europe where most of the 9 Hour’s entry is expected to come from,” said SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel.

“COVID-19 itself has not been a factor in our decision, although the virus’ influence on other racing calendars –including SRO’s –has most certainly played a role in the decision, which ensures as many cars as possible have the potential to compete in South Africa.”

Ratel said that running to a reduced four-race calendar made the most sense considering the factors at play.

Last month he told Sportscar365 that the series would stay in Asia if it introduced a new fifth round, but also admitted that a four-round schedule was a likely option.

The 2020 season started with the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in February, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the postponement of the 24H Spa and the cancelation of the Suzuka 10H, which were due to take place in July and August.

The next round will be the Indianapolis 8 Hour in early October, ahead of the rescheduled Spa at the end of that month and the Kyalami finale now in December.

“Restricting the 2020 calendar to four events also makes complete sense,” said Ratel.

“There were discussions about staging Asia’s race elsewhere, but we and our nine full-season manufacturers ultimately felt this year wouldn’t be the right time to introduce a new event.

“Last year’s 9 Hour – the first for 22 years – was an incredible success that re-established Kyalami’s place on the international motorsport map.

“We fully expect December’s Intercontinental GT Challenge finale to continue that legacy.”

2020 Intercontinental GT Challenge Schedule (updated)

Feb. 2 – Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour
Oct. 4 – Indianapolis 8 Hours
Oct. 24-25 – Total 24 Hours of Spa
Dec. 12 – Kyalami 9 Hour

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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