Suzuka 8 Hours

Last updated
Suzuka 8 Hours
Suzuka circuit map--2005.svg
FIM Endurance World Championship
Venue Suzuka Circuit
Corporate sponsor Coca-Cola
First race1978
Duration8 hours

The Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 hours (鈴鹿8時間耐久ロードレース, Suzuka hachi-jikan taikyū rōdo rēsu, Suzuka 8 hours Endurance Road Race) is a motorcycle endurance race held at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan each year. The race runs for eight hours consecutively and entrants are composed of two or more riders who alternate during pitstops.

Contents

History

The race began in 1978 as a race for prototype Tourist Trophy Formula One (TT-F1) motorcycles which meant the big four Japanese companies (Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha), who had unlimited engineering resources, could use them on the track. [1]

Throughout the years, the race had gone through several rule changes in accordance to the FIM, including the restriction to 750cc for F1 bikes.

One major change for the race came in 1993. Due to the high popularity of Superbike racing, which had been a support class in previous 8 Hours races, the race now centered on superbikes. The Formula One class, which at the time was the pinnacle of the race, would be removed altogether. Another category included in the race is the Naked class (for motorcycles without fairings - similar to the streetfighter bikes).

At the event's peak during the 1980s, the race attracted in excess of 130,000 spectators while presently it attracts a crowd around 85,000. The record attendance figure is 160,000 in 1990. [2] The race is part of the FIM Endurance World Championship for motorcycles and with the exception of 2005, due to the high importance the big four Japanese manufacturers place on the race, the governing bodies set a race date that avoids conflict with any of the other major championship races.

Star riders

A main attraction of the Suzuka 8 hours race is that it normally features star riders from MotoGP and Superbike racing factions from around the world. [1] It is not uncommon for a rider to have the 8 Hours race written into their contracts when they acquire a factory ride in MotoGP or Superbike. If the rider has notable success in their respective class during the season, they will usually negotiate to have the requirement of racing future 8 Hours races removed from their contract. Most high-level riders don't like racing it because it breaks up their mid-season momentum and because it is physically draining. [1] Michael Doohan is an example of one such rider who raced the 8 Hours early in his career but had his contractual obligations to the race removed following his significant success in 500cc (now MotoGP).

On the other hand, high-level Japanese riders return for the race annually as it is regarded by the Japanese as one of the biggest motorsport events on the calendar. As the Suzuka 8 hours is part of the FIM World Endurance Racing Championship, its priority on the international calendar, along with the off-weeks in the FIM calendar, makes this race one of the most crucial on the schedule.

Until the removal of the Laguna Seca round in MotoGP, from 2003 until 2014, race winners had almost been exclusively Japanese, with only an occasional international-level star in the race, primarily since the Laguna Seca round either conflicted with the 8 Hours or was days after the event. From 2002-2014, only World Superbike stars have participated in the event, and four European riders have won, with the 2013 three-rider team consisting mostly of European riders.

Since Laguna Seca was removed, MotoGP stars have once again participated in the race, as Yamaha has won with Bradley Smith in 2015, along with Katsuyuki Nakasuga, who was a MotoGP rider at the time, and MotoGP rider Pol Espargaró, the 2013 Moto2 champion. Double MotoGP champion Casey Stoner also came out of retirement that year to race for Honda, alongside Michael van der Mark and Takumi Takahashi. His team was leading the race until Stoner crashed out when his throttle stuck open, resulting in a fractured tibia and shoulder for the Australian. Espargaró and Nakasuga (now just a Yamaha test driver in addition to domestic racing in Japan) repeated the feat in 2016 with Alex Lowes as the third rider. Nakasuga won the race third time in a row in 2017 with Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark, marking him the second driver to win three consecutive endurance races, after Aaron Slight achieved the feat in the 1990s.

Winners

YearNo.TeamRidersManufacturerMotorcycleLapsTime
202233 Flag of Japan.svg Honda Team HRC Flag of Japan.svg Tetsuta Nagashima
Flag of Japan.svg Takumi Takahashi
Flag of Spain.svg Iker Lecuona
Honda Honda CBR1000RR-R SP 2148:02'09.131
201910 Flag of Japan.svg Kawasaki Racing Team Suzuka 8H Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Jonathan Rea
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Leon Haslam
Flag of Turkey.svg Toprak Razgatlıoğlu
Kawasaki Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR 2167:55'36.613
201821 Flag of Japan.svg Yamaha Factory Racing Team Flag of Japan.svg Katsuyuki Nakasuga
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Alex Lowes
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Michael van der Mark
Yamaha Yamaha YZF-R1 1998:00'01.728
201721 Flag of Japan.svg Yamaha Factory Racing Team Flag of Japan.svg Katsuyuki Nakasuga
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Alex Lowes
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Michael van der Mark
Yamaha Yamaha YZF-R1 2168:00'32.959
2016 [3] 21 Flag of Japan.svg Yamaha Factory Racing Team Flag of Japan.svg Katsuyuki Nakasuga
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Alex Lowes
Flag of Spain.svg Pol Espargaró
Yamaha Yamaha YZF-R1 2188:00'40.124
2015 [4] 21 Flag of Japan.svg Yamaha Factory Racing Team Flag of Japan.svg Katsuyuki Nakasuga
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Bradley Smith
Flag of Spain.svg Pol Espargaró
Yamaha Yamaha YZF-R1 2048:00'29.708
2014634 Flag of Japan.svg MuSASHi  [ ja ] RT HARC-PRO. Flag of Japan.svg Takumi Takahashi
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Michael van der Mark
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Leon Haslam
Honda CBR1000RRW 1726:56'13.056
2013634 Flag of Japan.svg MuSASHi  [ ja ] RT HARC-PRO. Flag of Japan.svg Takumi Takahashi
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Michael van der Mark
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Leon Haslam
Honda CBR1000RRW 2148:00'01.280
201211 Flag of Japan.svg F.C.C.  [ ja ]-TSR Honda Flag of Japan.svg Kousuke Akiyoshi
Flag of Japan.svg Tadayuki Okada
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Jonathan Rea
Honda CBR1000RRW 2158:01'35.450
201111 Flag of Japan.svg F.C.C.  [ ja ]-TSR Honda Flag of Japan.svg Kousuke Akiyoshi
Flag of Japan.svg Ryuichi Kiyonari
Flag of Japan.svg Shinichi Itoh
Honda CBR1000RRW 2178:00'50.922
2010634 Flag of Japan.svg MuSASHi  [ ja ] RT HARC-PRO. Flag of Japan.svg Takumi Takahashi
Flag of Japan.svg Ryuichi Kiyonari
Flag of Japan.svg Takaaki Nakagami
Honda CBR1000RRW 2158:01'13.428
200912 Flag of Japan.svg Yoshimura Suzuki  [ it ] with JOMO Flag of Japan.svg Daisaku Sakai  [ ja ]
Flag of Japan.svg Kazuki Tokudome
Flag of Japan.svg Nobuatsu Aoki
Suzuki S-GSX-R1000 1838:01'59"916
200811 Flag of Japan.svg Dream  [ ja ] Honda Racing Flag of Japan.svg Ryuichi Kiyonari
Flag of Spain.svg Carlos Checa
Honda CBR1000RRW 2148:00'20"726
200734 Flag of Japan.svg Yoshimura Suzuki  [ it ] with JOMO Flag of Japan.svg Yukio Kagayama
Flag of Japan.svg Kousuke Akiyoshi
Suzuki S-GSX-R1000 2168:01'35"077
2006778 Flag of Japan.svg F.C.C.  [ ja ]-TSR ZIP-FM  [ ja ] Racing Flag of Japan.svg Takeshi Tsujimura
Flag of Japan.svg Shinichi Itoh
HondaCBR1000RRW2148:02'07"624
20057 Flag of Japan.svg Seven Stars Racing Flag of Japan.svg Tohru Ukawa
Flag of Japan.svg Ryuichi Kiyonari
HondaCBR1000RRW2048:01'22"351
20047 Flag of Japan.svg Seven Stars Racing Flag of Japan.svg Tohru Ukawa
Flag of Japan.svg Hitoyasu Izutsu  [ it ]
HondaCBR1000RRW2108:01'35"115
200371 Flag of Japan.svg Team Sakurai Honda Flag of Japan.svg Yukio Nukumi  [ ja ]
Flag of Japan.svg Manabu Kamada
Honda VTR1000SPW 2128:00'38"909
200211 Flag of Japan.svg Team Cabin  [ ja ] Honda Flag of Japan.svg Daijiro Kato
Flag of the United States.svg Colin Edwards
HondaVTR1000SPW2198:02'04"992
200111 Flag of Japan.svg Team Cabin  [ ja ] Honda Flag of Italy.svg Valentino Rossi
Flag of the United States.svg Colin Edwards
HondaVTR1000SPW2178:01'30"173
20004 Flag of Japan.svg Team Cabin  [ ja ] Honda Flag of Japan.svg Tohru Ukawa
Flag of Japan.svg Daijiro Kato
HondaVTR1000SPW2158:00'31"775
19994 Flag of Japan.svg Lucky Strike Honda Flag of Japan.svg Tadayuki Okada
Flag of Brazil.svg Alex Barros
Honda RC45 2138:01'59"918
199833 Flag of Japan.svg Lucky Strike Honda & Iwaki Flag of Japan.svg Shinichi Itoh
Flag of Japan.svg Tohru Ukawa
HondaRC452128:01'54"740
199733 Flag of Japan.svg Hori-Pro Honda with HARC Flag of Japan.svg Shinichi Itoh
Flag of Japan.svg Tohru Ukawa
HondaRC451868:02'03"722
199645 Flag of Japan.svg Yamaha Racing Team Flag of the United States.svg Colin Edwards
Flag of Japan.svg Noriyuki Haga
Yamaha YZF750 2148:02'06"411
199511 Flag of Japan.svg Team HRC Flag of New Zealand.svg Aaron Slight
Flag of Japan.svg Tadayuki Okada
HondaRC452128:00'00"468
199411 Flag of Japan.svg Team HRC Flag of the United States.svg Doug Polen
Flag of New Zealand.svg Aaron Slight
HondaRC451836:52'49"056
19931 Flag of Japan.svg Itoham  [ ja ] Racing Kawasaki Flag of the United States.svg Scott Russell
Flag of New Zealand.svg Aaron Slight
Kawasaki ZXR-7 2078:01'13"713
199211 Flag of Japan.svg Oki Honda Racing Team Flag of Australia (converted).svg Wayne Gardner
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Daryl Beattie
Honda RVF750 2088:00'07"117
199111 Flag of Japan.svg Oki Honda Racing Team Flag of Australia (converted).svg Wayne Gardner
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Mick Doohan
HondaRVF7501927:59'25"924
199021 Flag of Japan.svg Shiseido Tech 21 Racing Team Flag of Japan.svg Tadahiko Taira
Flag of the United States.svg Eddie Lawson
Yamaha YZF750 2057:57'35"859
19892 Flag of Japan.svg Beams Honda with Ikuzawa Flag of France.svg Dominique Sarron
Flag of France.svg Alex Vieira
HondaRVF7502027:58'34"328
19883 Flag of the United States.svg Team Lucky Strike Roberts Flag of Australia (converted).svg Kevin Magee
Flag of the United States.svg Wayne Rainey
YamahaYZF7502028:02'21"384
198721 Flag of Japan.svg Shiseido Tech 21 Racing Team Flag of Germany.svg Martin Wimmer
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Kevin Magee
YamahaYZF7502008:01'30"045
1986 [5] 4 Flag of Japan.svg Team HRC Flag of Australia (converted).svg Wayne Gardner
Flag of France.svg Dominique Sarron
HondaRVF7501978:01'30"738
19853 Flag of Japan.svg Team HRC Flag of Australia (converted).svg Wayne Gardner
Flag of Japan.svg Masaki Tokuno
HondaRVF7501958:01'40"102
19841 Flag of the United States.svg Honda America Flag of the United States.svg Mike Baldwin
Flag of the United States.svg Fred Merkel
Honda RS750R  [ it ]1918:01'30"35
19836 Flag of France.svg HB Suzuki France  [ fr ] Flag of France.svg Hervé Moineau
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Richard Hubin
Suzuki GS1000R 1908:02'29"32
198227 Flag of Japan.svg Blue Helmet MSC Flag of Japan.svg Shigeo Iijima
Flag of Japan.svg Shinji Hagiwara
Honda CB900F 1206:02'55"83
19811 Flag of France.svg Honda France Flag of the United States.svg Mike Baldwin
Flag of the United States.svg David Aldana
Honda RS1000 1998:00'47"12
198012 Flag of Japan.svg Yoshimura R&D  [ it ] Flag of the United States.svg Wes Cooley
Flag of New Zealand.svg Graeme Crosby
Suzuki GS1000 2008:01'03"54
19796 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Honda Australia Flag of Australia (converted).svg Tony Hatton
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Michael Cole
Honda CB900 1978:00'23"78
19782 Flag of Japan.svg Yoshimura Racing  [ it ] Flag of the United States.svg Wes Cooley
Flag of the United States.svg Mike Baldwin
SuzukiGS10001948:02'51"53

By manufacturer

WinsManufacturer
28 Flag of Japan.svg Honda
8 Flag of Japan.svg Yamaha
5 Flag of Japan.svg Suzuki
2 Flag of Japan.svg Kawasaki

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References

  1. 1 2 3 West, Phil. "10 reasons to watch the Suzuka 8-hour this weekend". Bennetts UK. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  2. "Suzuka Circuit: Race Information". SuzukaCircuit.com. Archived from the original on February 9, 2005. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
  3. "Official race results" (PDF). fimewc.com. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  4. "Official race results" (PDF). fimewc.com. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  5. "The Suzuka 8 Hours: An Intense History".