WTCR switches to Suzuka East Course layout
The World Touring Car Cup has announced it will switch from Suzuka's full Formula 1 layout to the shorter East Course for its 2019 round.
The 2.243 km (1.394-mi) East Course uses the first part of the F1 circuit, including the S bends, before a sharp right-hander at the Dunlop Curve takes cars back onto the start/finish straight. It was used for the WTCC's 2011-13 events at Suzuka (pictured top).
The official reason for the change is the lack of time to remove and reinstall the urethane safety barriers required for FIM-sanctioned motorcycle events that line the full track.
These do not confirm to FIA car racing homologation, so are removed for events such as F1's Japanese Grand Prix and cannot be used for the WTCR's joint bill with Super Formula on October 25-27.
Domestic championships including Super Formula and SUPER GT do not face the same restriction.
Because the urethane barriers are required for testing events in the fortnight after the F1 race on October 13 and again for an All-Japan Superbike meeting the week after WTCR's visit, it has been decided to switch to the East track as there will be time to change the barriers on the shorter version.
A 14-day period is required for the full barrier change process on the complete track - seven days to remove the urethane versions and seven to reinstall them.
However, it should be noted that the WTCR event ran on the full circuit last year, while the All-Japan Superbike finale took place a week later, as is the case this year.
The Super Formula race will take place on the long Suzuka layout as per usual.
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