JGTC Becomes (Global) Super GT?
”We aim to build our presence in the world of international motorsport, while maintaining our unique Japanese identity," says (Japanese) GT Association Director Mr. Jiro Kaji – at the JGTC website.

The sub-heading for the interview with Mr. Kaji indicates that ‘JGTC aims to attract foreign manufacturers as an international series’.

This news needs to be read in conjunction with Stephane Ratel’s statement just under two weeks ago (here) that “the new international ambitions of the GT Association match our views of developing the FIA GT as a global series, visiting four continents. Together with the Japanese cars and teams, we will present an outstanding grid, making us stronger in markets such as America, Australia and South East Asia.”

dailysportscar.com’The JGTC would (will) evolve into an international series from 2005,’ is the preface to the interview with Mr. Kaji – in which he suggests that the JGTC will henceforth be known as ‘Super GT’.

”Our original rules and style of racing has been accepted by the competitors and fans, and the challenge now is to take that one step further, to the international stage where we aim for greater success from a much broader market,” indicates Mr. Kaji. “Becoming a truly international series allows our Japanese drivers and teams to show their strengths to the world, and to compete alongside international teams under identical conditions.”

He remarks that the JGTC has grown as far as it can as a domestic championship and that “for us to continue the success and growth of the series, the best way forward is to raise the level of awareness of Japanese motorsport through the internationalization of the series.”

”We aim to replicate that level of success (of NASCAR) as we ‘internationalize’ this series, and Japanese motorsport. Simply put, we want to make it more attractive for the fans - and we are confident in our abilities of doing that.”

The target is racing fans worldwide, and Mr Kaji is looking at “neighboring countries such as China, and across the Pacific such as the United States,” such that the potential audience is far greater than the 100 million consumers in Japan.

“For international manufacturers and teams to find the series attractive, an international organizing body is required. We will continue to control the whole series as promoter. We aim to put international and domestic manufacturers on an equal footing, providing the most attractive basis on which teams can compete.”

dailysportscar.com2005 will see the ‘Super GT’ series performing at seven domestic events, and three overseas.

“We may increase the number of international events in the years to come,” continues Mr. Kaji. “Presently, the (JGTC) championship fields the greatest variety of models racing in any top-level series in the world. With six tire suppliers competing, we also represent the largest number of firms competing in that area. These are part of the true meaning of an international series - the greatest variety of cars and technical suppliers, and we aim to grow in this area as well.”

So “globalisation” is the target, but it remains to be seen how the FIA GT Championship fits into this scheme (from 2006?), and the implications for ACO-regulated series - or even Grand Am. What will Mr. Ecclestone think of all this?

In an odd coincidence, the JGTC-USA event at Fontana takes place this weekend.



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