The 2020 Pirelli Super Taikyu Series has officially been declared over, and the series will no longer pursue plans to hold a rescheduled sixth and final round following the cancellation of the scheduled season finale at Suzuka Circuit two weeks ago.
The 5-hour race at Suzuka was originally scheduled for this past Saturday, 24 January – but the event was cancelled on 13 January due to a spike in novel Coronavirus cases throughout Japan, and the declaration of a State of Emergency in several prefectures. There were talks that an alternate finale would take place before the end of the fiscal year on 31 March, but those plans have now been abandoned after a meeting between the series and its teams.
“The Super Taikyu Organization (STO) has been studying and evaluating plans to hold an alternative event to the ‘Pirelli Super Taikyu Series 2020 Round 6 SUZUKA S-Tai’, which has been cancelled due to the current social situation that has been declared a state of emergency. However, due to the current situation of the novel Coronavirus infection, we have decided not to hold this event, and to move on to the 2021 series,” the series announced in a press release on Tuesday.
Harumi Kuwayama, CEO of the Super Taikyu Organization, said: “Of course we are disappointed that the final race of 2020 has been cancelled. However, in light of the various circumstances, we had a web meeting with all the teams and decided to take a positive view of the fact that we were able to hold five rounds, and to change our mind and move forward with preparations for the 2021 series.”
“The 2020 season was held under a variety of conditions that we have never experienced before. I would like to thank all of the participants, sponsors, fans, circuits, and officials for their support. I would like to express my deepest sympathy to all those affected by the new coronavirus. I hope that the virus will be contained as soon as possible and that the motorsports world will be more exciting than ever,” added Kuwayama.
The final ranking for the 2020 season has been determined based on the standings following the fifth round of the season at Autopolis International Racing Course on 13 December, and champions have been declared in all eight classes.
2020 Pirelli Super Taikyu Series Champions
ST-X (FIA GT3): Mercedes-AMG Team Hirix Racing – Mercedes-AMG GT3 (Daisuke Yamawaki, Shaun Thong, Shinichi Takagi, Yuki Nemoto)
The #888 Hirix Good Day Racing AMG GT3 won in its debut at the Fuji Super TEC 24 Hours, surviving a spectacular pit lane fire to power through to victory. Takagi was injured in a savage crash at Okayama, but Nemoto – who will be debuting in the Asian Le Mans Series in February – filled in alongside the ever-present duo of American Football player-turned-amateur racing driver Daisuke Yamawaki, and Hong Kong hero Shaun Thong, to take a crucial second victory in Motegi in a new chassis.
ST-Z (FIA GT4): Endless Sports – Mercedes-AMG GT4 (Yuudai Uchida, Hideki Yamauchi, Tsubasa Takahashi)
The #3 Endless AMG GT4 won at Fuji, Sugo, and Autopolis to wrap up its second straight ST-Z Championship with the trio of Uchida, Yamauchi, and Takahashi. Ryuichiro Tomita and Shinnosuke Yamada accompanied the team at the Fuji 24h, while Togo Suganami joined for the five-hour races at Motegi and Autopolis. In eleven races over two seasons, the Endless AMG GT4 has a perfect run of eleven podium finishes.
ST-TCR: Floral Racing with Uematsu – Honda Civic TCR (Tadao Uematsu, Yuji Ide, Shintaro Kawabata)
Honda and JAS Motorsports’ Civic TCRs win their third ST-TCR title in four years, and a first for the new Floral Racing team in the debut season for their #290 F-Link Home Civic TCR. Uematsu, Ide, and Kawabata won at Sugo and Motegi. They retired from the last race in Autopolis, but the two bonus points for winning pole position actually secured them the championship by just 1.5 points over Waimarama Kizuna Racing’s Audi. GT500/Super Formula star Tomoki Nojiri joined the team for the Fuji 24h.
ST-1: Rookie Racing – Toyota GR Supra GT4 (Naoya Gamou, Daisuke Toyoda, Yasuhiro Ogura, Shunsuke Kohno)
Rookie Racing’s pre-homologation Supra GT4 prototype was the only ST-1 class entry that entered every race, therefore it took the title effectively by default in its debut season. When the #28 Rookie Racing GR Supra did have intra-class competition, they won handily at Fuji against two other entries, and at Okayama against one other car. Their main benchmarks for the year were the homologated GT4 entries in ST-Z. GT500 Champion Kazuya Oshima and Hisashi Yabuki joined the team at Fuji.
ST-2: Rookie Racing – Toyota GR Yaris (Takuto Iguchi, Masahiro Sasaki, Akio “Morizo” Toyoda)
Super Taikyu was the best test bed for the GR Yaris hot hatch before it hit the market to rave reviews, and the #32 Rookie Racing GR Yaris ended TOWA INTEC Racing’s run of seven consecutive ST-2 titles in 2020. The GR Yaris won at Fuji on debut, then at Motegi, and Autopolis, where they clinched the championship before the cancellation of the last round. Toyota President Akio Toyoda’s involvement as a driver drew plenty of attention, and the team was bolstered by two-time Super Formula champion Hiroaki Ishiura and Norihiko Katsuta (father of WRC star Takamoto) at Fuji.
ST-3: Tracy Sports – Lexus RC 350 (Kazuya Oshima [b. 1997], Hirotaka Ishii, Yusuke Tomibayashi)
Tracy Sports secured their fourth ST-3 title in five years, with the #39 Winmax Air Buster RC 350 winning at Sugo and Okayama, and finishing a close second in the other three races to finish just 2.5 points ahead of Saitama Toyopet GreenBrave’s Crown RS. Along with eSports champion Tomibayashi – who is making inroads as a Japanese-born “gamer-turned-racer” – and regular co-drivers Oshima and Ishii, Sesshu Kondo joined for the Fuji 24h, and Hirohito Ito raced at Fuji and Motegi.
ST-4: C.S.I Racing – Toyota 86 (Rintaro Kubo, Shinya Hosokawa, Sho Tsuboi)
The power vaccum from TOM’s Spirit’s departure from ST-4 gave second-year team C.S.I Racing and their #310 GR Garage Mito Inter 86 the opportunity to power through to their first titles, with victories at Fuji, Sugo, and Autopolis. Kota Matsui, brother of GT300 Champion Takamitsu Matsui, joined the team in their Fuji 24h victory.
ST-5: J’s Racing (Shinsuke Umeda, Hideo Kubota, Toshihiro Kubota)
J’s Racing won their first title since 2016 this year. They won just once at Motegi, but the consistency was key as they finished every race on the podium. This year, the trio of Umeda, Kubota and Kubota led the way, as team president Junichi Umemoto only ran the Fuji 24h. Yoshikazu Sobu also ran the Fuji 24h, as did Super Taikyu TV’s pit reporter, MC Hirata.