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Shanghai to Host Two World Challenge Asia Rounds in 2020

2020 World Challenge Asia schedule firmed up with Buriram back and two races at Shanghai…

Photo: SRO

Shanghai International Circuit will host two rounds of SRO’s GT World Challenge Asia series next season following the publication of the final 2020 calendar.

In addition to a three-hour endurance race that closes out the campaign in October, the Chinese Grand Prix venue will also hold a conventional sprint event in September.

The updated six-round schedule also includes the return of Thailand’s Buriram circuit which effectively replaces the axed round at Yeongam in South Korea.

Buriram, which hosted GT World Challenge Asia this year, was not originally on the provisional 2020 calendar issued in July.

However, it has returned at the expense of Yeongam and shifted from the initial mid-July date to a new slot as the second event of the season on April 25-26.

Next year’s campaign will begin at Sepang on the final weekend of March before traveling to Buriram, Fuji Speedway, Suzuka and Shanghai.

The visits to Shanghai will come five weeks apart with the sprint round, consisting of two 60-minute races, taking place on Sep. 12-13 and the Shanghai 888 enduro taking place on Oct. 17-18.

The championship’s move to slot Buriram in between Sepang and Fuji, meanwhile, has created a two-month gap later on in the season between Suzuka and the first leg of the Shanghai double.

This year, the Fuji round took place in July but the circuit’s commitments to hosting the Olympic road cycling competition in 2020 have pushed it further up the schedule to May.

All of next season’s date shifts have been made without creating date clashes with the other regional GT World Challenge competitions.

“2020’s calendar represents GT World Challenge Asia’s biggest shake-up since its inception three years ago, but we firmly believe the time is now right to take the next step in its development,” said championship co-director Benjamin Franassovici.

“I’m delighted to see Fuji remain on the schedule next season despite its lack of availability due to the Olympics. The circuit is one of our most popular rounds for race-by-race teams and drivers, and always attracts a significant entry, so re-jigging the calendar to ensure its inclusion while also preventing a Super GT clash has been a priority from the start.

“That posed some logistical hurdles for Buriram, which I’m happy to confirm have been overcome. The event is always well attended and we enjoy a good working relationship with the venue team.”

Changes to the 2020 format include the addition of a Pro-Am class to the GT4 category which will continue to share races with the GT3 field next season.

There will also be an extra 30-minute session exclusive to Bronze-rated drivers attached to every race weekend.

Furthermore, SRO has extended its partnership with Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia which will support all rounds except the Shanghai 888.

2020 GT World Challenge Asia Schedule
Mar. 28-29 – Sepang
Apr. 25-26 – Buriram
May. 23-24 – Fuji
Jun. 20-21 – Suzuka
Sep. 12-13 – Shanghai
Oct. 17-18 – Shanghai 888

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

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