The first race of the 2019-20 season takes us to Japan, to race Suzuka International Racing Course. The league visited a few years ago in what proved to be a disastrous outing for Scandinavian Blitz, losing both cars right at the end. Originally designed in the early 1960’s as a test track for Honda, it first hosted an official Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1987.
Suzuka is noted for the fact that it involves both clockwise and anti-clockwise portions of the track. It’s the only figure eight track that the SBMRL races at and features a number of notable corners that have made it a driver favorite through the years.
The pit straight is short and leads into a high speed right hander. Cars won’t have to slow down here at all on the run up from the grid. The “S” curves follow, a smooth rhythm section that can set up cars beautifully for the middle section, or get them all out of whack if not handled properly.
The Degner curve comes just before the underpass and it’s a short run from here to the hairpin. It’s imperative to get the straight between the hair pin and Spoon just right because Spoon is followed by the longest “straight” the track features.
The quotes are used there because it isn’t really straight. It takes a notable left at 130R, but this can be taken flat out. The final challenge is the Casio Triangle, and then it’s back onto the pit straight for the second lap. Any driver that needs to pit can do so, but don’t be surprised if several cars get away with a clean enough lap to be able to forego fresh tires.
As this is the first race of the season, the starting grid will be determined randomly just prior to the race.
The only previous race at Suzuka saw Force Ravenswood’s Bubba McQueen take the win over the failed charge from behind by the Stig. Bubba and the Stig were so far ahead of Captain Slow that they would have easily finished first and second, but the Stig wanted the win and pushed his car just a bit too hard. Captain Slow, who had been running in 3rd place, found his fate to be similarly agonizing. With both cars out, Whiplash took 2nd with his Sprite Racing teammate, Stevie Wondertyres coming 3rd.