In the shadow of the mountain
The penultimate run of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) is going to take place on September 10 at 12.30 p.m. CEST on the Fuji Speedway in Japan. Here, all teams and classes will gather once more on the tradition-rich racetrack and battle for points in the 2023 season.
The racetrack Fuji Speedway has been at the foot of Fuji Mountain since the early 60ies. For nearly 10 years, the 6 Hours of Fuji have been a part of the FIA WEC race calendar – thus turning the racetrack into a familiar sight for the participants. Initially, the track was geared to be a NASCAR track and planned for four kilometers. A switch in investory changed plans and the foundation for the now 4.563 Kilometer-long track was laid.
The races on the Fuji Speedway are definitely memorable: In good weather conditions, drivers and the audience receive an unfettered view onto Fujisan, while the track itself also offers some highlights. A distinguishing characteristic of the track is the very long start-finish straight that is 1.475 Kilometers long. Adding to that is the rather unusual naming of the most of the 16 turns. Beside the turns named for specific sponsors, the remaining turn names consist of a number and the letter R. This labeling describes the turn radius in meters.
Uphill and downhill ride
Right after the long start-finish straight, the participants head directly into the 27R right turn – a u-turn that descends slightly. The following 75R turn goes right again, while the surrounding mountains become visible under a clear sky. Drivers' will not be able to enjoy the view much: The following left turn leads into the long-streched 100R right turn that winds around the grassy audience field and heads toward Fujisan. After that, the track leads into a hairpin left turn that does not permit much in terms of speed, but does direct the grid into the next long turns. Drivers are forced to switch between adjusted and high speeds, demanding a high level of concentration.
The turns seven to nine allow for passing maneuvers and higher speeds up to the Dunlop turn. There, participants have to direct their vehicles through sharp turn combinations. From then onwards, the track is back on the rise. Fuji reemerges in the distance in the final four serpentine curves, right before the track leads back onto the start-finish straight.
Three Porsche Hypercar teams and six LMGTE Am teams will participate in the 6 Hours of Fuji. The Porsche Penske Motorsport Team will compete with the Porsche 963 #5 and #6 in the Hypercar class, while the Customer Racing Teams Hertz Team JOTA and Proton Competition will be participating under the numbers #38 and #99. Proton Competition will also participate in the LMGTE Am class with the Porsche 911 RSR #16 and #88. Also in this class are the Customer Racing Teams Dempsey-Proton Racing with the Number #77, GR Racing in the #86, the Iron Dames in the #85, the Iron Lynx in the #60 and Project 1 – AO in the #56.
Porsche Motorsport fans can watch the race in the livestream of the FIA WEC and the stream of ORF Sport+ at 4.00 a.m. CEST.