GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS has revealed its full set of dates for the 2021 season and confirmed Zhuhai International Circuit as the location of the final round.
The latest schedule builds on SRO Motorsports Group’s announcement made in October that revealed a list of possible circuits and an intention for the campaign to start at Sepang next May.
GTWC Asia is holding six rounds in 2021, with each comprising of two 60-minute races.
New venues Motegi and Zhuhai, which are poised to become the ninth and tenth circuits to host the series, are shown as rounds four and six on the calendar, respectively.
Super GT venue Motegi will be staged on Aug. 7-8 while former Intercontinental Le Mans Cup track Zhuhai is the location of the season’s final pair of races on Oct. 16-17.
SRO last promoted an event at China’s Zhuhai circuit almost 14 years ago when the FIA GT Championship held a two-hour race there to launch its 2007 season.
The 2021 GTWC Asia campaign kicks off at Sepang with two rounds spread across May and June, while Buriram in Thailand is set to mark round three at the beginning of July.
Between Motegi and Zhuhai sits a fixture at Shanghai International Circuit on Sep. 11-12.
Autopolis and Suzuka were proposed as possible venues during the initial schedule announcement in October but the Japanese circuits have not been included in the update.
There is also no endurance race, with GTWC Asia sticking to a sprint-only season and abandoning its concept of a long-distance highlight at Shanghai that was proposed for 2020.
The new calendar is designed to provide teams with easy access to the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli Suzuka 10 Hours being held on Aug. 21-22 after Motegi, and the Macau Grand Prix GT Cup which is expected to occur in November after Zhuhai.
GTWC Asia is aiming to recover from a coronavirus-affected year that saw the 2020 season canceled due to challenges caused by the pandemic’s impacts in East Asia.
The second Sepang event and another round will be turned into triple-headers if the season-opener cannot take place due to travel restrictions.
The rule that each driver lineup must have at least one Asian driver will remain in place next year, while GT4 is set to continue to run alongside the main GT3 category.
GT4 crews competing in the Am-Am sub-class, which was due to be introduced for the 2020 season, will have a shorter minimum pit stop time than those running in Pro-Am.
Additionally, the series is laying down an incentive for GT4 teams to field more than one car, with two-car programs receiving a 50 percent discount on the second entry’s fees.
GT Sprint Asia Established
SRO has also announced that a new amateur-based support series called GT Sprint Asia will be piloted next year at the second Sepang meeting and the Zhuhai season closer.
The new competition will consist of two 40-minute, solo-driver sprint races for an open grid of GT3, GT2, GT4 and GTC machinery.
It bears resemblance to the newly-launched GT America series that will run pairs of 40-minute races for GT3, GT2 and GT4 cars on next year’s GTWC America bill.
A similar concept will also be found in the new GT2 European Series which is staging pairs of 50-minute races as part of the Europe-based GT Sports Club package, which also includes the new GT Rebellion endurance championship for amateur drivers.
Both Porsche and Audi have already set up GT2 customer activities in Asia, while KTM and Lamborghini are also in line to join SRO’s newest sports car formula in 2021.
2021 GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS Schedule
Apr. TBA – optional testing (Sepang)
May. 29-30 – Sepang
Jun. 19-20 – Sepang (with GT Sprint Asia)
Jul. 3-4 – Buriram
Aug. 7-8 – Motegi
Sep. 11-12 – Shanghai
Oct. 16-17 – Zhuhai (with GT Sprint Asia)