When it comes to touring car races, Japan has the Super GT series. Meanwhile, Germany has Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, better known as DTM. The two have never crossed paths. But in 2020, they will be coming together for the very first time. In the 2020 season, Japan’s Super GT and Germany’s DTM will be merging regulations and will be having combined races for the very first time. The new merged regulations will be known as Class 1.
Recently, Toyota, Honda, Nissan has taken off the wraps of their Class 1 challengers ahead of the 2020 Super GT. Nissan will once again be competing with the GT-R, Honda with the NSX, and Toyota will be fielding the GR Supra. All three will be competing in GT 500, the top class of Super GT series and at shared events with DTM.
Per new Class 1 regulations, all cars will now use 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-fours, have rear-wheel drive, and have the engine mounted up front. Peak power will be capped at around 620 horsepower with top-speed varying depending on the vehicle’s aerodynamics and downforce.
Now, the new regulations are easy for both Toyota and Nissan as both the GR Supra and GT-R feature a front-engine layout. For Toyota, this marks the first time the Supra name will return to Super GT since it was replaced in 2006. Meanwhile, Nissan already has experience racing the GT-R in GT500, with their new Class 1 challenger being based on the existing GT500 car.
However, Honda has had to change the layout of the NSX in order to meet regulations, moving the engine in front of the cabin. As most of you know, the NSX has always featured an MR-layout with the engine behind the cabin. That being said, the NSX racing in Class 1 will be the only NSX in the world to feature an FR layout.
While the new Class 1 cars may resemble their respective production models, there is little common in between the road car and the race cars. Interestingly, it is even impossible to tell that the NSX is front-engine apart from the side-exit exhausts.
The GT-R and the GR Supra will begin testing at Suzuka later this week. However, Honda will commence testing of the front-engined NSX at a later date. The first round of the 2020 Super GT season will begin in April next year at the Okayama International Circuit.