The JGTC is the All-Japan Touring Car Championship, currently one of two main GT (Gran Turismo/Grand Touring) leagues in the world, the other being the French FIA (Federation Internationale De L'Automobile). As the name implies, all races are held in Japan or at the least very very near it, in the case of Malaysia's Sepang Circuit. JGTC consists of two classes, GT300 and GT500, cars in which have approximately 300 or 500 horsepower respectively, as determined by intake restrictor plates specified in the rules.
JGTC allows a dramatic amount of car customization. While fenders, doors, and the unibody (everything from the firewall/bulkhead to the back but not including the rear bumper and its cover) must remain made out of the original metal (and in their original positions) the remainder of the car (roof, bonnet/hood and trunk/boot) may be replaced with other arbitrary material (such as carbon fiber) so long as it retains the stock form. You may extend the fender flares and side skirts up to 50mm. The front spoiler may not stick out past the bumper, and must be below the centerline of the front tires. An aluminum rear wing 40cm long with a 15cm rise, and no wider than the car at its widest point, is specified in the rules. In other words, you are free to modify the car for weight reduction, but you may not compromise the original chassis, nor significantly change its appearance to the point where it would be unrecognizable.
As for performance, you may do almost anything you want with the engine, including swap in another engine made by the same manufacturer. It must however retain the original basic position - It must be located in the same compartment and face the same direction as the original powerplant. You can even add or remove turbocharging, though the displacement and whether or not the engine uses forced induction determines the size of the restrictor plate. The transmission, on the other hand, may be modified or replaced in any way you can manage save that it may not be electronically actuated.
In fact, no "automatic" driving systems whatsoever are permitted in JGTC, including ABS, active suspension, traction control, automatic/electronically actuated clutch systems, electric overdrive, four wheel steering, on the fly suspension damping or ride height control, active aerodynamics, or mobile ballast, even if such systems are present on the car in its stock form. You may however modify the suspension in whatever way you see fit so long as it follows the original form. You may not replace a front MacPherson Strut Suspension with double wishbone, for example.
Each team fields one car, and each car must have two drivers. Both drivers qualify, and one driver can drive no more than 2/3 of the race, which is between 250 and 1,000 kilometers, making them endurance races.
As for consumable equipment, not counting rain tires, each car gets three sets of tires to use for both qualifying and racing. All fuel is 102 octane (by RON).
The cars of the top finishers have weight added to them to handicap, which is removed only in the case of a 5th place (or lesser) finish, and max out at 120kg(GT500) or 80kg (GT300). The weight total is removed from the team at the end of the racing season.
Penalties are assessed for violations of sporting conduct, and are signalled with a black flag. Most penalties involve a ten second stop and go, which may be done with the engine on, but the pit crew may not touch the car. If a penalty stop is not made within three laps of the black flag, then a one minute penalty may be added to the final race time.
The series is won by accumulation of points, with points awarded to all finishers, and naturally with more points going to the higher-placing teams.
Place 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Points 20 15 12 10 8 6 4 3 2 1
Should two teams receive the same score, the one with the most first place victories is the ultimate winner.
The tracks in the JGTC series are like a "where's where" of Japanese racing. The 2003 circuit consists of Ti Circuit Aida, the Fuji Speedway, Sportsland Sugo, The aforementioned Malaysian Sepang Circuit, Twin Ring Motegi, Autopolis, and the Suzuka Circuit. All of them should be instantly familiar to anyone who has watched GT racing in Japan, or to anyone who has ever played a GT racing video game such as anything in the Gran Turismo series. In addition, a significant amount of F1 racing is done on some of these tracks, so their presence in video games goes all the way back to Pole Position, such as Suzuka. They present a broad range of driving styles, often within the context of the same track.
Ti Circuit Aida in Ti, Okayama prefecture, consists largely of relatively tight sweepers leading from and into straightaways. It is 3.703km long.
Fuji Speedway, one of Japan's most famous tracks, is located in Sunto Gun hill, Shizuoka prefecture. It features one long straightaway (in the center of which lies the starting line) and then a long series of long sweepers and tight technical turns. It is 4.4km in length.
Sportsland Sugo in Cho Sugo Gun, Murata prefecture, is 3.704km long. Its finish is an often-dramatic long sweeper into the final straightway; Its start leads directly into two right-angle turns to the right.
The 5.542km long Sepang Circuit in Malaysia (In the town of Sepang is considered to be one of the world's most challenging F1 tracks, as well as being one of the world's best F1 tracks. In its center are a pair of long straightaways which run nearly the width of the track, joined by a hairpin left.
Built in 1997, Twin Ring Motegi is “Fusion of Human, Nature, and Mobility”. An amusement park sourrounded by mountains, Twin Ring Motegi combines motor racing, driving experiences, nature exploration and other activities, Come and experience the fascinating Twin Ring Motegi.
Twin Ring Motegi, located just north of Kasama in Tochigi prefecture, features both a high-speed "ring" race track, and a twisty road course ideal for GT racing. As Honda's marketing blurb from the website suggests, the site itself is home to more than just auto racing, including a Honda auto and motorcycle museum and various other technology displays, a nature park, and camping facilities. The road course is 4.801 km long.
-- Twin Ring Motegi English Front Page
Autopolis International Race Course in Hita-gun, Oita prefecture, features 52 meters of elevation over its 4.674m length. This leads to some serious up and down hill action, as it is built on the side of a hill.
The Suzuka Circuit, one of Japan's most famous race tracks, is over 40 years old, yet continues to be a favorite of race car drivers and motorcycle riders alike. Located near near Suzuka City in Japan's Mie prefecture, the race track is built atop what was once rice paddies. Like Motegi, it was built and is owned by Honda. Also like Motegi, Suzuka features an amusement park, a honda museum, several hotels, a motocross track, a bowling alley, and a shopping mall. The 5.859km long track is laid out in a figure eight design in order to be able to have both left and right turns in an extremely limited space, and is one of the most challenging tracks used in GT racing, making it an especially fit finish to the JGTC series.
- What's JGTC? JGTC, 2003. (http://www.jgtc.net/index_en.htm)
- 2001 JGTC Regulation Digest: Technical Regulations. JGTC, 2001. (http://www.jgtc.net/race/whats/t_reg_e.htm)
- 2001 JGTC Regulation Digest: Sporting Regulations. JGTC, 2001. (http://www.jgtc.net/race/whats/s_reg_e.htm)
- Circuit Guide 2003. JGTC, 2003. (http://www.jgtc.net/race/circuit/circ_indx.htm) (Translated via babelfish.)
- Sepang Circuit. Sepang Circuit, 2003. (http://www.malaysiangp.com.my/)
- Twin Ring Motegi. Honda/Twin Ring Motegi, 2003. (http://www.twinring.jp/english/index.html)
- Autopolis International Race Course. (http://www.autopolis.jp/info.htm) (Translated via babelfish.)
- Adams, Dean. From Rice Paddies to Race Paddocks: The History of Suzuka Circuitland. AMAsuperbike.com, April 2003. (http://www.amasuperbike.com/2003-Apr/030401b.htm)