The Super GT Series is a car racing series that originated in Japan and has spread to other parts of the world including China, Malaysia and even California. Of all the racing events in the world, the Super GT has the most number of car manufacturers participating in the races. All the cars fall into one of two categories: GT500 and GT300.
Formerly known as the All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship, commonly called JGTC, the racing series was established in 1993. Strict limits were placed on power in order to avoid the one-team/make domination that had taken place in the Japanese Touring Car Championships as well as the All Japan Sports Prototype Championships. This helped to make race goers happy.
As costs increased, rules changed. This included adopting the GT500 and GT300 classes, which put a cap on cars based on brake horsepower and weight with air restrictor usage. In 2002, an additional rule was added to keep it as a GT championship, which means competing cars had to have 2 doors. A waiver had been issued to Cusco Racing for the use of the Subaru Impreza, however.
The series added a race in Malaysia followed by an exhibition race at the California Speedway. With more rule changes and the violation of a “national” championship, the need for it to become something different became necessary. In December 2004, the Super GT series was born with the goal of being a challenge to the world instead of just Japan.
All cars are divided into one of two groups. The GT500 are cars with no more than 500 horsepower. The GT300 cars are those with no more than 300 horsepower. These outputs are reduced through intake restrictors. Some of the heavier cars can run larger restrictors through allowances in order to maintain purity of racing. The excitement of racing is maximized by allowing the cars to run simultaneously, though points are awarded separately within each group. A number of sports, luxury and family cars have all joined the series, including the Toyota Corolla Axio and the Lexus SC 430.
The Super GT races are held as a yearly series. The races take place on some of the most well-known tracks in Japan including the Suzuka Circuit, Fuji Speedway and Twin Ring Motegi. There are also races in Malaysia at the Sepang International Circuit as well as in the US at the California Speedway. Races had been planned for Shanghai, however they have failed to take place as of yet.
The races of the Super GT are long endurance races of 300 km or more. However, due to the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake in Japan, many of the races were changed to sprints of 250 km.