Suzuka 8 Hours cancelled for the second year running
The 2021 Suzuka 8 Hours has been cancelled due to the rising cases of coronavirus in Japan, with a new race in Czech Republic announced as its replacement.
In a statement, the FIM Endurance World Championship announced that the Japanese endurance classic has been called off for the second year running due to the COVID-19 situation in the country, which has adopted stringent travel restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
The Suzuka 8 Hours had already been pushed back from its traditional July slot to November to November 7 to form the final round of the EWC season.
But following consultation with local authorities and promoter Mobilityland, it was decided to scrap this year’s running. The organisers hope the race will return in July 2022.
The news comes a day after it was announced that the Japanese Grand Prix, the annual Formula 1 race at the same venue in Mie Prefecture, has also been axed because of the pandemic.
“We had been preparing for the “Coca-Cola” Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race, which was to be held for the first time in two years, but the difficult decision has been made that we have no choice but to cancel it,” said Kaoru Tanaka, President Representative Director of Mobilityland.
“It is a very regrettable outcome for us to be forced to cancel the Suzuka 8 Hours for the second consecutive year, because it is a very important race event for everyone. But we will continue to prepare for the Suzuka 8 Hours in 2022 and strive to make it an even more attractive event than ever for the fans and all those concerned.”
The EWC season will now conclude with the 8 Hours of Most on October 9 as part of a joint event with the FIA World Touring Car Cup, another series promoted by Eurosport Events.
The Czech circuit recently made its debut on the World Superbike calendar, although several riders felt the circuit was not up to international standards in the run up to the race.
There will be additional points on offer at Most, with the race winning team bagging a total of 45 points.
“Unfortunately, what we feared the most has now happened,” said FIM president Jorge Viegas.
“An exponential increase in the number of people infected with COVID-19 in Japan after the Olympic Games means that the Japanese Government will now not permit the Suzuka 8 Hours to go ahead as planned, despite the enormous efforts made by Mobilityland and Eurosport Events.
"On behalf of the FIM I would like to offer a word of optimism for the future, since I am confident that this flagship event will come back stronger than ever.
“And when it does, we will be there together with the MFJ, Mobilityland and Eurosport Events.
“In order to maintain the number of events, we will activate plan B with a race at Autodrom Most in the Czech Republic on 9 October. It will be a mixed car and motorcycle event as it was in Slovakia and Malaysia two years ago.”
Prior to EWC’s visit to Most, the championship will head to France for the Bol d’Or on October 9 for the third and the penultimate round of the season.