On Sunday, Okayama International Circuit and the GT Association (GTA) announced that, in the wake of the current Coronavirus outbreak, the first official pre-season test for the 2020 Autobacs Super GT Series will still be conducted as scheduled on 14-15 March.
However, the circuit will be closed to spectators, taking place behind closed doors as the circuit and series have placed top priority on the health and safety of the public and the Super GT competitors.
“We extend our sincere apologies to all the fans who were looking forward to seeing these events and ask for your understanding in lieu of the present Coronavirus crisis,” said the circuit and the GTA in a joint statement released on Sunday.
The decision is the latest in a number of Japanese sporting events that have been delayed or cancelled in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak. J-League football matches have been postponed, and depending on the timeframe of when the outbreak ends, the fate of the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo isn’t yet determined.
On the motorsport side of things, the Coronavirus situation has led to Suzuka Circuit cancelling its Motorsport Fan Thanks Day event that was to take place next weekend, and the circuit’s Motopia amusement park has closed through 15 March. A private GT500 manufacturer test was also set to take place next week, and has been cancelled. The Pirelli Super Taikyu Series conducted its pre-season test at Fuji Speedway on Saturday, but the paddock was closed to spectators.
Which then leads to the question of the scheduled opening round of the 2020 Super GT Series, currently scheduled for 11-12 April.
“The related organizations will make their announcements based on the developments in the present Coronavirus crisis as soon as the decisions are made,” reads the official statement.
More decisions in this vein are expected to follow from other racing series.
Feature Image courtesy of the GT Association