Fuji Grand Champion Series

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The Fuji Grand Champion Series (富士グランドチャンピオンレース?) ran from 1971 to 1989. It was a drivers' championship in Japan and was originally for 2 litre Group B6 cars. The series was started in 1973, and all races were held at the Fuji Speedway circuit.

History[edit]

In its formative years, cars elibigle to start included the March 74S, Alpine A441 Renault, Chevron, Lola and GRD.

In its second year of running, it had its first fatalities. At the start of the second race of the second round of the 1974 series, two cars were racing for the lead. They collided and Hiroshi Kazato and Seiichi Suzuki crashed into them, causing a fire.[1] Both Kazato, 25, and Suzuki, 37, were killed. The race was immediately abandoned.

A change in the rules in 1979 made it possible for single seat sportscars, similar to the revived Can-Am series, to race in the series.

In the second race of 1983 Famiyasu Sato was killed in practice. Later in the series, Toru Takahashi was killed when his car spun, and the aerodynamics of the car caused it to fly through the air, head first into a wall, also killing a spectator.

The maximum engine size limit was increased to 3 litres in 1987. In 1988, the series changed its name from Fuji Grand Champion series to Grand Champion series because some races added into the championship were not held at Fuji.

The late 1980s saw attendance dropping, and after 1989 the series folded.

Revival[edit]

The series was revived again in 2002 as GC-21, like its predecessor;[2] the series used Dallara GC21 cars, which were rebodied F3 cars powered by 3S-GTE engines. Like its predecessor, it raced exclusively at Fuji Speedway with the exception of 2004, when the circuit was undergoing a major renovation work.[2] Despite running on a small field (usually five and six cars at a time), it ran on into 2006 when the series again folded. Between 2006 and 2007, it formed part of the LMP2 class in the Japan Le Mans Challenge.

Champions[edit]

Year Driver Car
1971 Japan Masa Sakai McLaren M12-Chevrolet
1972 Japan Hiroshi Fushida Chevron B21P-Ford
1973 Japan Noritake Takahara Lola T292-Ford
Chevron B2
1974 Japan Masahiro Hasemi March 73S-BMW
1975 Japan Noritake Takahara March 74S-BMW
1976 Japan Noritake Takahara March 74S-BMW
1977 Japan Tetsu Ikusawa GRD S74-BMW
1978 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino March 74S-BMW
Nova 53S-BMW
1979 Japan Satoru Nakajima GRD S74-BMW
MCS Mazda
1980 Japan Masahiro Hasemi MCS BMW
1981 Japan Fujita Naohiro MCS BMW
March 802
1982 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino MCS BMW
1983 Japan Keiji Matsumoto MCS BMW
1984 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino MCS BMW
1985 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino MCS BMW
1986 United Kingdom Geoff Lees MCS Yamaha
1987 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino MCS Ford
1988 United Kingdom Geoff Lees MCS Mugen
1989 United Kingdom Geoff Lees MCS Mugen

References[edit]

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