SRO Motorsports Group has established a deadline of early June on whether the Suzuka 10 Hours will go ahead as planned for Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli competitors according to founder and CEO Stephane Ratel.
The event, scheduled for Aug. 21-23, is currently the next IGTC event on the calendar following the postponement of the Total 24 Hours of Spa to October.
There had been speculation that the annual Summer Endurance Race, organized by Super GT promoters GTA and Mobilityland, could be postponed or canceled amid the increased effects of the coronavirus pandemic has had in Japan in recent weeks.
While SRO has canceled its GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS event at Suzuka due to lack of available alternative dates, plans are provisionally in place for the GT3 sprint series to kick off at Autopolis in July, followed by a trip to Fuji Speedway.
Ratel indicated they will likely need to wait until next month before being able to make a final decision on their participation in the race.
Since its reboot as a GT3-only race in 2018, the majority of the grid has been comprised of IGTC entries.
“The containers must leave in early June. If, on that date, it is not possible, then we will do something else,” Ratel told Endurance-Info. “We have different plans.
“There is no questioning of the IGTC.
“We are reworking the date of Kyalami and replacing Suzuka is an option if we cannot do otherwise. We want to deliver our championships.”
Ratel said he’s not interested in extending the IGTC, or any other SRO championship, into the 2021 calendar year to complete a current season.
“It is not something to consider making a calendar over a year and a half,” he said.
“I’m not a fan of the two-year seasons. GT goes back to the origins of motorsport and you have to keep a traditional format. Even the championships in South America are European style.”
25-Hour Spa Race “Tempting” Due to Daylight Saving Time Change
However, Ratel said he’s been ‘tempted’ on the prospects of breaking away from the traditional format of the Total 24 Hours of Spa, which now falls on the weekend of a daylight saving time change in Europe.
The rescheduled Belgian enduro is slated to start at 3 p.m. local time on Sat. Oct. 24 and typically finishes at 3 p.m. the next day.
However, European clocks are rolled back at 2 a.m. that Sunday, which could uniquely provide an opportunity for SRO to make the race one hour longer in duration.
“We’ll think about it,” Ratel said. “You can have a 24-hour race or a [green flag] at 3 p.m. for a finish at 3 p.m. I admit that the idea tempts me.”
Laurent Mercier contributed to this report