Suzuka 10 Hours

The Suzuka Summer Endurance Race, currently known as the Suzuka 10 Hours, is an annual motorsport event for sports cars that has been held at the Suzuka International Racing Course, Mie Prefecture, Japan since 1966,[1] and the oldest automobile endurance race in Japan. The race is currently held over a duration of ten hours as part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. From 1966 to 2017, the event was known as the Suzuka 1000km, a 1000 kilometre race held as part of various championships including Super GT, the All-Japan Endurance/Sports Prototype Championship, the FIA GT Championship, the BPR Global GT Series, and the FIA World Sportscar Championship.

History

Fireworks at the 2014 race.

The race, as a 1000 kilometre race, was first held as a standalone event from 1966 to 1973. After a hiatus, the event returned in 1980 for three years before joining the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship, the forerunner to Super GT, in 1983.[1] The event later hosted a round of the 1992 World Sportscar Championship before these series were cancelled. After that the race became part of many different series, including the BPR Global GT Series from 1994 to 1996, the FIA GT Championship from 1997 to 1998, and the Super Taikyu Series as well as returning to being a non-championship event. In 2006, the race was added to the Super GT championship calendar for the first time. Previously, the race was open to JGTC/Super GT cars, but only a handful of competitors from the Super GT championship took part. In 2018, the race moved to the Intercontinental GT Challenge championship, replacing the Sepang 12 Hours held in Malaysia, featuring GT3 and select GT300 class cars from Super GT.[2]

Beverage company Pokka served as the title sponsor of the race from 1994 until 2014. In 2019, Japanese banking company SMBC and collector car auction house BH Auction became the new joint title sponsors of the Suzuka 10 Hours.

Format

The race was traditionally held over 1000 kilometres from 1966 to 2008. From 2009 to 2011, the race length varied; the 2009 Super GT race was shortened to 700 km due to increasing costs and CO
2
emissions regulations, as well as the economic crisis. The 700 km distance was retained in 2010, but as a result of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and Super GT energy conservation regulations in force that year, the race was cut to 500 km.[1] From 2012, the race returned to being a 1000 kilometre event. In 2018, the race became a 10-hour event as part of its move from Super GT into the Intercontinental GT Challenge, matching the distance of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race Petit Le Mans held in Braselton, Georgia (United States).[2][3]

In 2018 and 2019, the race offered a prize purse of ¥100 million Yen, with the overall winner receiving a ¥30 million share, the second place finisher receiving ¥10 million, and the third place finisher receiving ¥5 million. Prize money is also awarded for the top team in a number of sub-classes including Pro-Am Cup, Silver Cup, and Am Cup. The top teams from Super GT and Super Taikyu also receive a prize bonus, as well as the winner of the Asia Award (given to the top team with no less than two Asian drivers), and the fastest team in both phases of qualifying. In 2019, a "Team of the Day" award was introduced, allowing viewers to vote for their favourite team during the race - who will also receive a prize bonus.[4]

Winners

Among drivers, Kunimitsu Takahashi holds the all-time record with four overall victories at the Suzuka 1000km, winning for the first time in 1973, then taking three more victories during the Group C era of the JSPC in 1984, 1985, and 1989. Five other drivers - Daisuke Ito, Ryo Michigami, Naoki Nagasaka, Sébastien Philippe, and Juichi Wakisaka, have won the event three times overall.

Several past winners of the race have also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, including Henri Pescarolo, Vern Schuppan, Masanori Sekiya, Stanley Dickens, Yannick Dalmas, Derek Warwick, JJ Lehto, Benoît Tréluyer, Loïc Duval, and Kazuki Nakajima. Past winners including Marcel Tiemann, Bernd Schneider, Frédéric Makowiecki, Maro Engel, Kelvin van der Linde, Dries Vanthoor, and Frédéric Vervisch have also won the Nürburgring 24 Hour race. Other notable former winners include three-time 24 Hours of Daytona winner Bob Wollek, 1989 Japanese Grand Prix winner Alessandro Nannini, 2015 FIA World Endurance Drivers' Champion and Formula One Grand Prix winner Mark Webber, four-time Super GT GT500 Drivers' Champion Ronnie Quintarelli, all-time GT500 class wins leader Tsugio Matsuda, and former Scuderia Toro Rosso third driver, 2018 Japanese "double champion" Naoki Yamamoto.

In recent years, the event has drawn interest from previous Formula One world champion drivers, many of whom had raced at Suzuka Circuit for years during their F1 careers. 2009 champion Jenson Button made his Super GT debut in the 2017 running of the Suzuka 1000km, and in 2019, two-time world champion Mika Häkkinen returned to compete at the Suzuka 10 Hours.

Porsche have more victories in the race than any manufacturer - eleven in total, spanning from 1967 to 1994. The winningest Japanese marques are Honda and Toyota, who have each won the race eight times overall, just ahead of Nissan with seven victories. Toyota's Lexus luxury brand has also won the race five times representing Toyota in the GT500 class of Super GT, from 2006 to 2017.

List of winners

Year Overall Winner(s) Entrant Car Series Length
1966 Japan  [ja]
Japan  [ja]
Toyota 2000GT Non-championship 1000 km
1967 Japan  [ja]
Japan  [ja]
Porsche 906
1968 Japan  [ja]
Japan Hiroshi Fushida
Toyota 7
1969 Japan  [ja]
Japan
Porsche 906
1970 Japan
Japan
Nissan Fairlady Z432
1971 Japan
Japan Hiroshi Fushida
Porsche 910
1972 Japan  [ja]
Japan
Toyota Celica 1600GT-R
1973 Japan Kunimitsu Takahashi
Japan  [ja]
Nissan Fairlady Z432R
1974

1979
Not held
1980 Japan
Japan Naoki Nagasaka
Japan Red Carpet Racing Team March 75S-Mazda Non-championship 1000 km
1981 France Bob Wollek
France Henri Pescarolo
Germany Porsche Kremer Racing Porsche 935 K3
1982 Japan
Japan Naoki Nagasaka
Japan Auto Beaurex Motor Sports BMW M1
1983 Japan
Australia Vern Schuppan
Japan Trust Racing Team Porsche 956 JSPC
1984 Japan Kunimitsu Takahashi
Japan
United Kingdom Geoff Lees
Japan Advan Sport Team Nova Porsche 956
Japan Kunimitsu Takahashi
Japan
Japan Advan Sport Team Nova Porsche 962C
Japan
Japan Hideki Okada
Japan
Japan FromA Racing Porsche 956
United Kingdom Geoff Lees
Japan Masanori Sekiya
Japan Hitoshi Ogawa
Japan Toyota Team TOM's  [ja]
Japan Hideki Okada
Sweden Stanley Dickens
Japan FromA Racing Porsche 962C
Japan Kunimitsu Takahashi
Sweden Stanley Dickens
Japan Advan Alpha Nova Racing Porsche 962C
1990 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino
Japan Toshio Suzuki
Japan Nissan Motorsports Nissan R90CP
1991 Austria Roland Ratzenberger
France Pierre-Henri Raphanel
Japan Naoki Nagasaka
Japan Toyota Team SARD  [ja]
1992 United Kingdom Derek Warwick
France Yannick Dalmas
France Peugeot Talbot Sport Peugeot 905 Evo 1B WSC
1993 Japan Takao Wada
Japan Toshio Suzuki
Japan Team LeMans Nissan R92CP JGTC
1994 France Jean-Pierre Jarier
France Bob Wollek
Spain Jesús Pareja
France Larbre Competition Porsche 911 Turbo S LM-GT BPR GT
1995 United Kingdom Ray Bellm
Brazil Maurizio Sandro Sala
Japan Masanori Sekiya
United Kingdom GTC Racing McLaren F1 GTR-BMW
1996 United Kingdom Ray Bellm
United Kingdom James Weaver
Finland JJ Lehto
United Kingdom Gulf Racing GTC McLaren F1 GTR-BMW
1997 Italy Alessandro Nannini
Germany Marcel Tiemann
Germany AMG-Mercedes Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR FIA GT
1998 Germany Bernd Schneider
Australia Mark Webber
Germany AMG-Mercedes Mercedes-Benz CLK LM
1999 Japan  [ja]
Japan Ryo Michigami
Japan Katsutomo Kaneishi
Japan Mugen x Dome Project Honda NSX GT500 Non-championship
2000 Japan Juichi Wakisaka
Japan Katsutomo Kaneishi
Japan Daisuke Ito
Japan Mugen x Dome Project Honda NSX GT500
2001 Japan Hironori Takeuchi
Japan Yuji Tachikawa
Japan  [ja]
Japan Toyota Team Cerumo Toyota Supra GT500
2002 Japan Juichi Wakisaka
Japan Akira Iida
Japan  [ja]
Japan Esso Toyota Team LeMans Toyota Supra GT500
2003 Japan Ryo Michigami
France Sébastien Philippe
Japan Dome Racing Team Honda NSX GT500
2004 Japan Ryo Michigami
France Sébastien Philippe
Japan Daisuke Ito
Japan Dome Racing Team Honda NSX GT500
2005 Macau André Couto
Italy Ronnie Quintarelli
Japan Hayanari Shimoda
Japan Denso Toyota Team SARD Toyota Supra GT500
2006 France Benoît Tréluyer
Japan Kazuki Hoshino
France  [fr]
Japan Calsonic Team Impul Nissan Fairlady Z GT500 Super GT
2007 Germany André Lotterer
Japan Juichi Wakisaka
United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
Japan Houzan Toyota Team TOM's Lexus SC430 GT500
2008 Japan Tsugio Matsuda
France Sébastien Philippe
Japan Calsonic Team Impul Nissan GT-R GT500
2009 Japan Hiroaki Ishiura
Japan Kazuya Oshima
Japan Lexus Team Kraft Lexus SC430 GT500 700 km
2010 Republic of Ireland Ralph Firman
Japan Yuji Ide
Japan Takashi Kobayashi
Japan Autobacs Racing Team Aguri Honda HSV-010 GT GT500
2011 Japan Takashi Kogure
France Loïc Duval
Japan Weider Honda Racing Honda HSV-010 GT GT500 500 km
2012 Japan Masataka Yanagida
Italy Ronnie Quintarelli
Japan MOLA International Nissan GT-R GT500 1000 km
2013 France Frédéric Makowiecki
Japan Naoki Yamamoto
Japan Weider Modulo Dome Racing Honda HSV-010 GT GT500
Japan Kazuki Nakajima
United Kingdom James Rossiter
Japan Lexus Team Petronas TOM's Lexus RC F GT500
Japan Daisuke Ito
United Kingdom James Rossiter
Japan Lexus Team Petronas TOM's Lexus RC F GT500
Japan Yuji Tachikawa
Japan Hiroaki Ishiura
Japan Lexus Team ZENT Cerumo Lexus RC F GT500
Belgium Bertrand Baguette
Japan Kosuke Matsuura
Japan Nakajima Racing Honda NSX-GT GT500
2018 Germany Maro Engel
Italy Raffaele Marciello
France Tristan Vautier
Hong Kong Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Intercontinental GT Challenge 1603km
996 mi
(10 hours)
2019 South Africa Kelvin van der Linde
Belgium Dries Vanthoor
Belgium Frédéric Vervisch
Belgium Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS Evo 1556km
967 mi
(10 hours)
2020 Not held due to COVID-19 pandemic

Multiple winners

By driver

Wins Driver Years
4 Japan Kunimitsu Takahashi 1973, 1984, 1985, 1989
3 Japan Naoki Nagasaka 1980, 1982, 1991
Japan Ryo Michigami 1999, 2003, 2004
Japan Juichi Wakisaka 2000, 2002, 2007
France Sébastien Philippe 2003, 2004, 2008
Japan Daisuke Ito 2000, 2004, 2015
2 Japan 1966, 1968
Japan 1966, 1969
Japan Hiroshi Fushida 1968, 1971
Japan 1984, 1985
Japan 1969, 1986
United Kingdom Geoff Lees 1984, 1987
Japan Hideki Okada 1986, 1988
Sweden Stanley Dickens 1988, 1989
Japan Toshio Suzuki 1990, 1993
France Bob Wollek 1981, 1994
Japan Masanori Sekiya 1987, 1995
United Kingdom Ray Bellm 1995, 1996
Japan Katsutomo Kaneishi 1999, 2000
Japan 2001, 2002
Italy Ronnie Quintarelli 2005, 2012
United Kingdom James Rossiter 2014, 2015
Japan Yuji Tachikawa 2001, 2016
Japan Hiroaki Ishiura 2009, 2016

By manufacturer

Wins Manufacturer Years
11 Germany Porsche 1967, 1969, 1971, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1994
8 Japan Toyota 1966, 1968, 1972, 1987, 1991, 2001, 2002, 2005
Japan Honda 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2017
7 Japan Nissan 1970, 1973, 1990, 1993, 2006, 2008, 2012
5 Japan Lexus 2007, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016
3 Germany Mercedes-Benz 1997, 1998, 2018
2 United Kingdom McLaren 1995, 1996

Event names

  • 1966–93: Suzuka 1000km
  • 1994–08: International Pokka 1000km
  • 2010–12: Pokka GT Summer Special
  • 2013-14: International Pokka Sapporo 1000km
  • 2015–17: International Suzuka 1000km
  • 2018: Suzuka 10 Hours
  • 2019-present: SMBC BH Auction Suzuka 10 Hours

References

  1. ^ a b c Malcevic, Marijan (21 August 2018). "Suzuka 1000 Km – The Oldest Japanese Endurance Race". SnapLap. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b Kilshaw, Jake (28 July 2017). "Suzuka 10H to Replace Sepang on IGTC Schedule – Sportscar365". sportscar365.com. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  3. ^ Watkins, Gary (4 March 2017). "10-hour GT3 race to replace Suzuka 1000km Super GT round in 2018". Autosport.com. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Suzuka 10 Hours Preview: Rules & Regulations Primer – dailysportscar.com". www.dailysportscar.com. Retrieved 2020-04-21.