Contributed by : Chan Eu Jin
The Malaysian motorsports fans recently had a trill of a lifetime when they finally get to witness a live JGTC race that’s nothing short of
electrifying! The GT Association undertook a historical event, as it is the first time that they have taken a race of the All Japan Touring Car
Championship (JGTC) outside of Japan. The Sepang International Circuit was given the honour to host the inaugural outing of the event outside of
native Japan. In the 7-year history of the series, the JGTC has risen to become the most popular race in Japan. Some 40 cars now participate in
each race, attracting an average of nearly 47,000 fans.
JGTC racing is directly related to the manufacturers of commercially produced cars and the automobile tuning parts market. Japan is currently at the forefront of the tuning parts market, which spans the Asian region and the West Coast of the United States. Although the JGTC is comprised of 40 cars including 17 models, for this event in Sepang, only 25 of the best cars in the JGTC were bought into Malaysia.
Unlike Formula One, JGTC involves stylish sports cars, which also run on the normal roads and highways. Some of the models to be raced at the track are the Nissan Skyline GT-R, Toyota Supra, Honda NSX, Mazda RX7, Lamborghini Diablo, Porches GT3R and the Chrysler Viper. In Japan, all the drivers, naturally, are big names in their homeland though they may be stranger to Malaysians. Nevertheless, some are world-renowned names in motor racing including former Formula One drivers like Ukyo Katayama, Aguri Suzuki and Erik Comas. Then, there is also former 500cc world champion Wayne Gardner, whom to Malaysians needs no introduction. Partnering Hideki Noda, the Australian would be spearheading the challenge of the Esso Ultron Tiger Toyota Team.