Next weekend the FIA World Endurance Championship heads east for the first of two races in Asia, and the first stop will be in Japan for the 6 Hours of Fuji. This is the seventh year in a row that the series has been to this track and Andy Priaulx will be racing there in his number 67 Ford GT along with his team mate Harry Tincknell.
Even a battle with an eight-hour time difference from his Guernsey home can’t put Andy off a track that he really loves: “This is where we gave the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team its first win in its first season in the championship in 2016, and so I know how well the car can go there. It is a great track and a fantastic place to be. The weather there can be quite unpredictable but if the clouds go away and you get a clear view of Mount Fuji that is amazing.”
The duo still has some ground to make up on the leaders of the GT FIA World Endurance Drivers’ Championship, but they have plenty of time as this race is the halfway point in the eight race Super Season with the final race in Le Mans paying double points. Meanwhile in the highly competitive GT Manufacturers FIA World Endurance Championship Ford are lying second to Porsche. “It was great to be back on the podium at our last race on home ground in Silverstone, but now the aim is for wins and lots of points over the next five races and let’s hope we can start this in the land of the rising sun,” said the triple World Champion.
Fuji Speedway is 70 miles south west of Tokyo and in the foothills of Mount Fuji. This is Japan’s highest mountain at 3,776 metres tall and also an active volcano, although it is unlikely to erupt this weekend as it last did this in 1707. While this is a sacred site and a popular mountain for people to climb it is unlikely the drivers will have time to do this before hitting the 2.835 mile (4.563 kilometre) circuit on Friday. The first session will be FP1 from 11.00 to 12.30, followed by FP2 from 15.30 to 17.00. On Saturday FP3 will be from 09.30 to 10.30 and Qualifying for the LMGTE Pro class will be from 14.00 to 14.20. On Sunday the six-hour race will start at 11.00 and end at 17.00. All these times are local which are eight hours ahead of BST.