GT

IGTC 2020 calendar remains at four races, Suzuka 10 Hours not replaced

The 2020 Intercontinental GT Challenge will remain at four rounds with the decision not to replace the cancelled Suzuka event.

Series organiser the Stephane Ratel Organisation had revealed an intent to replace the Suzuka 10 Hours scheduled for 23 August with another round in Asia when its cancellation was confirmed in May.

Now, it has announced that it has decided against inserting another race into the already compressed end-of-season world motorsport schedule resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

Stephane Ratel said: “Restricting the 2020 calendar to four events makes complete sense.

“There were discussions about staging Asia’s race elsewhere, but we and our nine full-season manufacturers ultimately felt this year wouldn’t be the right time to introduce a new event.”

The Kyalami round of the IGTC has been pushed back by three weeks into December, also as a result of the congested calendar.

The nine-hour fixture at the former home of the South African Grand Prix will now take place on 12 December.

The original date of 22 November was only one week after the final round of SRO’s GT World Challenge Europe finale at Paul Ricard.

“Moving Kyalami back to mid-December is a common-sense decision that eases any logistical complications for teams travelling from Europe where most of the entry is expected to come from,” explained Ratel.

“COVID-19 itself has not been a factor in our decision, although the virus’s influence on other racing calendars – including SRO’s – has most certainly played a role in the decision, which ensures as many cars as possible have the potential to compete in South Africa.

“Last year’s 9 Hours – the first for 22 years – was an incredible success that re-established Kyalami’s place on the international motorsport map.

“We fully expect December’s IGTC finale to continue that legacy.”

Kyalami’s addition to the calendar in 2019 fulfilled Ratel’s ambition to take the IGTC to Africa and meant that the IGTC, introduced in 2016, grew to five rounds for the first time.

This year’s series began with the Bathurst 12 Hours in February and is due to resume with the new Indianapolis eight-hour fixture, which has replaced Laguna Seca as the North American round, on 4 October.

The Spa 24 Hour, originally set for the end of July, will now take place on 24/25 October and will be extended by an additional hour.

The remaining rounds of the series will take without the Bathurst-winning factory Bentley squad, which is withdrawing its IGTC entry for the remainder of 2020 ahead of a planned return next year.

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