The final race of the 2020 Pirelli Super Taikyu Series at Suzuka Circuit, originally scheduled for 23 January, has been cancelled as of Wednesday, 13 January.
A second surge of COVID-19 outbreaks in Japan has led to several prefectures across the country declaring a State of Emergency, including nearby Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo, who were just added to the list this evening in Japan.
Mobilityland Corporation, the parent company of Suzuka Circuit, issued the following statement on Wednesday: “Due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, neighbouring prefectures have been requested to declare a state of emergency. In response to this, we have decided to cancel the event, placing the highest priority on the safety and security of our customers and all those involved. We would like to ask for the understanding of all the fans and people who have been looking forward to this event.”
The 5 Hour Race at Suzuka would have been the final round of the 2020 season. Six of the eight classes had yet to crown a champion after the most recent race in Autopolis on 13 December, including the ST-X (GT3) and ST-Z (GT4) classes. This was also scheduled to be the final race for Pirelli as the series’ title sponsor and sole tyre supplier, before Hankook takes over as tyre supplier to the series from 2021.
There is a catch however: According to a report from of auto sport Magazine of Japan’s Ryuji Hirano, the Super Taikyu Organisation (STO) is still trying to arrange a last-ditch effort to hold the race at a later date, prior to the end of the fiscal year on 31 March.
It is a steep challenge to reschedule the final race of a season that has bled from one calendar year into the next, however. The first race of the 2021 season is scheduled for 21 March at Twin Ring Motegi, and the series plans to hold two pre-season tests in the changeover from Pirelli to Hankook rubber.
If the event cannot be rescheduled, the provisional champions in each class would be as follows:
ST-X: #888 Mercedes-AMG Team Hirix Racing – Mercedes-AMG GT3 (Daisuke Yamawaki, Shaun Thong, Shinichi Takagi, Yuki Nemoto)
ST-Z: #3 Endless Sports – Mercedes-AMG GT4 (Yuudai Uchida, Hideki Yamauchi, Tsubasa Takahashi)
ST-TCR: #290 Floral Racing with Uematsu – Honda Civic TCR (Tadao Uematsu, Yuji Ide, Shintaro Kawabata)
ST-1: #28 Rookie Racing – Toyota GR Supra GT4 (Naoya Gamou, Daisuke Toyoda, Yasuhiro Ogura, Shunsuke Kohno)*
ST-2: #32 Rookie Racing – Toyota GR Yaris (Takuto Iguchi, Masahiro Sasaki, Akio “Morizo” Toyoda)*
ST-3: #39 Tracy Sports – Lexus RC 350 (Kazuya Oshima [b. 1997], Yusuke Tomibayashi, Hirotaka Ishii)
ST-4: #310 C.S.I Racing – Toyota 86 (Rintaro Kubo, Shinya Hosokawa, Sho Tsuboi)
ST-5: #69 J’s Racing – Honda Fit (Shinsuke Umeda, Hideo Kubota, Toshihiro Kubota)
*Team clinched championship after Round 5 in Autopolis