Grand Prix Turn Racing iRacing Series Race Preview: Fuji Speedway

Only four races remain in the 2023 Grand Prix Turn Racing iRacing Series season. On Thursday, 26 of the top ranked open-wheel drivers are set to bring the Dallara iR-01 to the foothills of Mount Fuji for a 34 lap battle at Fuji International Speedway, another new venue to the series.

Can Przemyslaw Marek Lemanek continue to extend his points lead? Will there be a sixth different winner on the season? Be sure to tune in to the action as it starts at 19:00 GMT (3PM ET) with the event streaming live across iRacing social media channels.

Last Race: For the first time in series history, a street course was the setting, with 38 laps on the streets of Detroit at Belle Isle. Florian Lebigre, looking for a third win on the season, took the pole position, but was out of it early on after contact with Marcos Núñez and Michele Costantini. It was anyone’s race at that point, the lead swapping hands between Simone Maria Marcenò, Ben Fuller, Pablo Espes, Xavi Ros and the previous winner, Edoardo Leo. At the white flag, it was Jarl Teien with the lead, but when the checkers flew, SDK Gaming’s Manel Cubo Torres had passed Teien for the top spot. Lemanek finished eighth, but increased his points lead to 11 over Teien, now in second.

Last Season: Fuji Speedway will be the fifth new track so far on the 2023 schedule. It essentially replaces Suzuka Circuit, previously the ninth race in the inaugural 2021 season, as the Japanese Grand Prix round. The seventh race of the 2021 season was Road America, another course that is not back on this year’s schedule. Around this time on the calendar two years ago, it was becoming clear who the championship favorites were after Maarten Van Loozenoord managed his fourth straight victory, with eventual champion Peter Berryman second.

Track Facts: The current layout of Fuji International Speedway, a 16-turn, 2.833-mile road course near Mount Fuji in Japan, has been around since 2005. The venue first opened in 1965, but for iRacing, it was added to the track list for the 2022 Season 3 build release. Fuji has been a frequent host of prominent endurance races, including the Fuji 1000 km and the Fuji 6 Hours. Fuji also has previously hosted the Japanese Grand Prix in 1976, 1977, 2007 and 2008, and is a mainstay on many Japanese national GT and formula series racing calendars. The facility has also hosted cycling, notably as recent as 2020 for the Summer Olympics.

Next Up: After a slew of new venues, Austria returns for the eighth round of the 2023 season. The Red Bull Ring is one of the few venues kept on from the 2021 season, and with the roster of drivers this season, there’s guaranteed to be a different winner than there was two years ago. The course in Spielberg features 10 corners around 2.863-miles of pavement. Berryman was victorious enroute to the title at the Red Bull Ring in 2021. 

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