1999 Le Mans Fuji 1000 km

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The 1999 Le Mans Fuji 1000 km was an endurance race backed by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), who ran the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF), who ran the JGTC race series. It was run on November 7, 1999.

Pre-race[edit]

Since the mid-1990s, a large number of Japanese automobile manufacturers had begun to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, including Honda, Toyota, and Nissan. Japanese constructors and engine builders were also competing as well, such as Dome, Tom's, and Mugen Motorsports. The ACO therefore was interested in the idea of creating a new sportscar series in Japan similar to the one that had recently been created in the United States, the American Le Mans Series. Thus, the Fuji 1000 km would serve as a one-off experiment to see how well a series would perform in Japan in the future, similar to the one-off 1998 Petit Le Mans for the ALMS.

With an agreement between the ACO and JAF, the race was agreed to take place at Fuji Speedway, and to combine the ACO's LMP, LMGTP, GTS, and GT class with the JAF's JGTC series GT500 and GT300 classes. The addition of JGTC machinery was done not only to entice Japanese teams into possibly moving into the ACO's sportscars, but also to help fill the field and to bring a crowd. However, the race did not count as part of the JGTC season, thus a full JGTC field was not expected since the race was optional. For the ACO classes, an incentive to bring competitors not only from Japan but also internationally was added in that, like Petit Le Mans, the winners in each class would earn automatic entry to the 2000 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Official results[edit]

Class winners in bold. Cars failing to complete 70% of winner's distance marked as Not Classified (NC).

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Tyres Laps
Engine
1 LMP 23 Japan Nissan Motorsports France Érik Comas
Japan Satoshi Motoyama
Japan Masami Kageyama
Nissan R391 B 228
Nissan VRH50A 5.0 L V8
2 LMGTP 1 Japan Toyota Motorsport
Germany Toyota Team Europe
Japan Ukyo Katayama
Japan Toshio Suzuki
Japan Keiichi Tsuchiya
Toyota TS020 M 227
Toyota R36V 3.6 L Turbo V8
3 LMP 61 Japan Team Goh
Japan Dome Co. Ltd.
Japan Hiroki Katou
Japan Juichi Wakisaka
Dome-BMW V12 LM M 222
BMW S70 6.0 L V12
4 GT500 35 Japan Matsumoto-Kiyoshi Team Tom's France Pierre-Henri Raphanel
Japan Shinichi Yamaji
Japan Takeshi Tsuchiya
Toyota Supra M 211
Toyota 3S-GTE 2.1 L Turbo I4
5 GT500 6 Japan Team Le Mans Japan Hideki Noda
Australia Wayne Gardner
Toyota Supra B 209
Toyota 3S-GTE 2.1 L Turbo I4
6 GT500 32 Japan cmda One Toyota Team Cerumo Japan Takayuki Kinoshita
Japan Masahiko Kondo
Japan Hironori Takeuchi
Toyota Supra B 208
Toyota 3S-GTE 2.1 L Turbo I4
7 GTS 60 Japan Team Goh
United Kingdom Chamberlain Engineering
Japan Seiji Ara
Japan Hideki Okada
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 203
Chrysler 8.0 L V10
8 GT500 11 Japan Endless Sports Japan Takao Wada
Japan Mitsuhiro Kinoshita
Japan Yasushi Kikuchi
Nissan Skyline GT-R Y 200
Nissan RB26DETT 2.8 L Turbo I6
9 GTS 16 Germany Freisinger Motorsport Germany Ernst Palmberger
Japan Yukihiro Hane
Porsche 911 GT2 D 198
Porsche 3.6 L Turbo Flat-6
10 GT 81 Japan Team Taisan Advan Japan Hideshi Matsuda
Germany Dominik Schwager
Porsche 911 GT3-R Y 197
Porsche 3.6 L Flat-6
11 GTS 69 Germany Proton Competition Germany Gerold Ried
Germany Christian Ried
Austria Manfred Jurasz
Porsche 911 GT2 Y 185
Porsche 3.6 L Turbo Flat-6
12 GTS 15 Germany Freisinger Motorsport Germany Wolfgang Kaufmann
France Bob Wollek
Porsche 911 GT2 D 180
Porsche 3.6 L Turbo Flat-6
13 GT300 91 Japan 910 Racing Japan Masamitsu Ishihara
Japan Keiichi Takahashi
Japan Tomohiko Sunako
Porsche 911 3.8 RSR Y 178
Porsche 3.8 L Flat-6
14 GT 65 Japan Roock Sport System Japan Japan Manabu Orido
Japan Takashi Suzuki
Japan Tomiko Yoshikawa
Porsche 911 3.8 RSR Y 176
Porsche 3.8 L Flat-6
15 GT 17 Germany Freisinger Motorsport Japan Katsunori Iketani
Japan Hiroyuki Nodi
Porsche 911 GT2 D 167
Porsche 3.6 L Turbo Flat-6
16
NC
GT300 70 Japan Team Gaikokuya Japan Yoshimi Ishibashi
Belgium Patrick van Schoote
Japan Jun Harada
Porsche 911 GT2 Y 157
Porsche 3.6 L Turbo Flat-6
17
NC
GT 80 Japan Team Taisan Advan Japan Eiichi Tajima
Japan Hiroaki Suga
Japan Morio Nitta
Porsche 911 3.8 RSR Y 155
Porsche 3.8 L Flat-6
18
NC
GT500 28 Japan Tomei Sport Japan Kazuyuki Nishizawa
Japan Takuya Kurosawa
United Kingdom Peter Dumbreck
Porsche 911 3.8 RSR Y 115
Porsche 3.8 L Flat-6
19
DNF
LMP 24 Japan Autoexe Motorsports Japan Yojiro Terada
Japan Keichi Satou
France Franck Fréon
Autoexe LMP99 Y 158
Ford (Roush) 6.0 L V8
20
DNF
LMGTP 21 Japan Hitotsuyama Racing Japan Akira Iida
Japan Yasushi Hitotsuyama
Japan Mikio Hitotsuyama
McLaren F1 GTR D 147
BMW S70 6.0 L V12
21
DNF
GTS 10 Japan Ability Motorsports Japan Hidehiko Asou
Japan Yasutaka Hinoi
Japan Atsushi Yogou
Porsche 911 GT2 Y 74
Porsche 3.6 L Turbo Flat-6
22
DNF
GTS 56 United Kingdom Chamberlain Engineering Belgium Vincent Vosse
France Xavier Pompidou
Chrysler Viper GTS-R M 40
Chrysler 8.0 L V10
23
DNF
GTS 64 Japan Roock Racing System Japan Japan Hisashi Wada
France Stéphane Ortelli
Porsche 911 GT2 Y 40
Porsche 3.6 L Turbo Flat-6

Statistics[edit]

  • Pole Position – #1 Toyota Motorsport – 1:16.349
  • Fastest Lap – #1 Toyota Motorsport – 1:18.806
  • Average Speed – 180.792 km/h

Post-race[edit]

Although the race was very competitive for Japanese manufacturer's Nissan and Toyota, the event was not considered a major success. Only twenty three entrants showed in total, with just sixteen being in the ACO's classes. Although Nissan and Toyota both had more cars they could have entered, each chose only to compete with a single car. A large number of European teams which had been on the entry list also failed to show up, most notably BMW Motorsport with their V12 LMR prototypes.

Toyota and Nissan had both decided to abandon their sportscar efforts after 1999, meaning neither team took their automatic entries for Le Mans in 2000. European interest in the series was also lacking, especially since teams like BMW and Audi seemed more interested in competing in the American Le Mans Series. This left the proposed series with no major manufacturer involvement to help bring in fans as well as other competition.

Consideration for a Japanese series was revived once again in late 2000 when Don Panoz and the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) announced their intentions to expand upon their American Le Mans Series, a series endorsed by the ACO. Panoz would plan an Asian-Pacific Le Mans Series (APLMS), competing throughout the entire Pacific rim. An exhibition event was held in Australia at the end of 2000 with mixed success, with another event played for Malaysia in 2001. However Panoz's other expansion outside the United States, the European Le Mans Series, would suffer from small fields and lack of competition throughout 2001. With a continued lack of interest from major manufacturers in teams in the ELMS as well as the APLMS, both series would be cancelled.

In 2006, the ACO was finally able to create a new sports car series in Japan with the launch of the Japan Le Mans Challenge. The series has already announced that for 2007 they will return to Fuji for another 1000 km event.

External links[edit]