GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS is the latest Championship to announce a ‘back to racing’ calendar.
The global coronavirus pandemic initially forced Sepang to switch from its traditional season-opening slot to the final round in December.
Now, an additional date will also see Asia’s biggest GT series visit Malaysia on September 12/13, the weekend previously reserved for Shanghai’s now-cancelled sprint event.
Instead, the Shanghai 888 endurance race (still set for October 17/18) occupies the first of this year’s two Chinese rounds. The second confirmed internally and due to be announced shortly, will take place at an established circuit elsewhere in the country on October 31/November 1 before Sepang’s season finale goes ahead as planned on December 5/6.
Autopolis – which was due to open the campaign on July 11/12 has been cancelled, while a potential late July/early August date at Fuji is no longer considered viable either.
Nevertheless, championship organisers are still evaluating opportunities to stage the fifth event at some point in 2020.
Regardless, a four-round calendar would still comprise a total of 11 races, as per 2020’s original schedule.
Sepang’s season opener and soon-to-be-revealed Chinese event will both include three 60-minute races, while the second outing in Malaysia features a doubleheader (2 x 2 races).
Elsewhere, the Shanghai 888, for which double points are awarded, remains a three-hour contest: the championship’s first-ever endurance race will involve refuelling, multiple driver changes and a greater scope for strategy.
Scaling back to four events presents a more cost-effective approach to maintaining an 11-race calendar, eases logistical considerations, and- most importantly- limits any risks associated with travelling.
Sepang’s first event and the Shanghai 888 weekend will both include official testing, while prize money totalling $300,000 and professionally produced live TV coverage also remain cornerstones of the championship.
The current calendar also avoids clashes with SRO’s GT World Challenge Europe and America championships.
All dates and destinations remain subject to national and local government restrictions and guidelines.
The events included in the revised calendar are not under consideration as the basis for the proposed Asian replacement for the cancelled Suzuka 10 Hours IGTC race. Indeed neither Shanghai nor Sepang are understood to be the chose/ preferred venue.
Revised GT World Challenge Asia Calendar – Provisional
Sep 12/13: Sepang, Malaysia
Oct 17/18: Shanghai 888, China
Oct 31/Nov 1: TBC, China
Dec 5/6: Sepang, Malaysia