TOPEKA, Kan. (Nov. 19, 2004) – SCCA Pro Racing Ltd. announced today that it will sanction and operate the December 18-19 GT Live event at California Speedway, the first-ever appearance of the famed All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship (JGTC) on American soil.
Run as an invitational event in accordance with JGTC organizers, the feature event of the weekend will be Saturday evening’s GT Live All Star 200, a two-hour race featuring 25 of the top entries in the GT500 and GT300 classes from the JGTC. Additionally, GT Live will feature twin sprints for the cars on Sunday, as well as drifting events from Formula Drift, D1 and the newly-formed Xtreme Drifting League (XDL), which runs full laps and has no judged component like traditional drifting.
Additional elements of the GT Live event include track laps, an autocross event, karting, RC car racing, the Super Street car show and the Car Audio & Electronics audio challenge.
“JGTC is something unlike any form of racing currently in the United States,” SCCA Pro Racing Vice President and General Manager Mitch Wright said. “The cars are extreme. They begin life as a stock tub, but are heavily modified and become semi tube-frame chassis with wild flares and bodywork. Some of the cars might be familiar to a World Challenge, Trans-Am or ALMS crowd, but there are a number of cars that American fans have never seen. And the performance level of these racecars is unbelievable.”
JGTC is split into two classes and runs a short endurance format with two drivers. The more powerful class, GT500, includes entries from Nissan (Fairlady/350 Z Turbo), Toyota (Supra V8), Honda (NSX Turbo), Ferrari (550 GTS Maranello) and Lamborghini (Murcielago). The lower powered class, GT300, includes the Honda NSX, Ferrari F360 Modena, three-rotor Mazda RX-7, Mosler MT900R, Toyota Celica Turbo, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR and Nissan Silva Turbo and Fairlady/350 Z.
While the highly-advanced cars costing upwards of $1million to develop are the main draw of the series, it has attracted a number of top drivers from not only Japan, but Europe as well. Recognizable Japanese drivers to North American fans include Naoki Hattori, Shinji Nakano, Hiroki Kato and Hideshi Matsuda. Non-Japanese drivers finding a home in JGTC include current GT500 point leader Richard Lyons, Erik Comas and James Courtney.
In addition to JGTC regulars, the event has extended invitations to a number of U.S.-based teams to compete in GT300.
SCCA Pro Racing will provide event coverage through www.scca.com. For more information about the GT Live event, including the list of Japanese entrants, and All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship, visit www.jgtcusa.net.
The final Round of the 2004 JGTC is this weekend, Nov. 20-22, at Suzuka. Full event coverage is available through www.jgtc.net.
Link to article: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=201