Last Friday, the Super Taikyu Series held its annual awards banquet to honour the champions of the previous year. The awards show was highlighted by the major announcement that Pirelli will become the series’ title sponsor and tyre supplier in a three-year deal.
The series now known as the Pirelli Super Taikyu Series will feature the same specification of Pirelli P Zero tyres used in the Pirelli World Challenge in the United States. Pirelli are also the exclusive tyre supplier of the SRO Intercontinental GT Challenge, which includes the Suzuka 10 Hours held at the end of August – which is open to all GT3 and GT4 runners in Super Taikyu.
The class structure in Super Taikyu remains unchanged for 2018, headlined by the ST-X (FIA GT3) class at the top, and the growing ST-TCR category right below. However, 2018 expects to be the first year of participation for the ST-Z (FIA GT4) category, which was left vacant when it was first launched in 2017. Audi in particular are expected to make a big push towards activating ST-Z in Japan with their new R8 GT4.
The series expects up to 60 cars to take part in the full season across its eight categories.
The 2018 series calendar was also confirmed, headlined by the first 24 hour endurance race in Japan for nearly a decade, the Fuji Super TEC 24 Hours, on June 2-3.
As many as 70 cars are expected to take part in this marquee event, and Fuji Speedway is sparing no expense to prepare the circuit for night racing, with work being done to install permanent LED flag lights and higher-visibility timing screens around the circuit. A new timing and scoring system is being used as well, and with consideration for the local residents, the top classes will carry silencers to limit the engines to 105 dB.
The season begins with a 4-hour race at Suzuka Circuit on April 1, followed by two 3-hour races at Sportsland SUGO on April 29.
Following the Super TEC 24h, are two 5-hour races, the first at Autopolis on July 15, the second at Twin Ring Motegi on September 23. The season then concludes with another doubleheader of 3-hour events at Okayama International Circuit, on November 4.
Super Taikyu TV, the series’ live streaming YouTube channel launched in 2017, will provide expanded and enhanced coverage of each round for 2018.
2018 Pirelli Super Taikyu Series Calendar
1 April – Suzuka Circuit (4 hours)
29 April – Sportsland SUGO (3 hours x 2 groups)
2-3 June – Fuji Super TEC 24 Hours
15 July – Autopolis (5 hours)
23 September – Twin Ring Motegi (5 hours)
4 November – Okayama International Circuit (3 hours x 2 groups)