The Coach Dave Academy iRacing Fuji 8 Hours is fast approaching, and this guide will give you everything you need to know if you’re already signed up for the event, or potentially on the fence about whether to participate.
The Fuji 8-Hour event marks the final long-distance endurance race of the year within iRacing, making a good result all the more important if you want to enjoy the holiday season ahead of a fresh batch of competition in 2024.
When Is The Fuji 8 Hours Held?
The Japanese encounter traditionally goes ahead across the second weekend in November across the 10th, 11th & 12th, with the event set to be staged across multiple splits as is usual with iRacing’s special events.
There will be a total of four-time slots for each race, with each being chosen so that racers all over the world have the opportunity to compete in the long-distance contest.
- Friday: 10 PM GMT.
- Saturday: 8 AM GMT, 12 PM GMT, 4 PM GMT.
How Is The Fuji 8 Hours Structured?
Depending on where in the world you are based, there could be a split time perfect for how you want to race. This can be conditional in terms of location as well as how much experience you have with multi-class/endurance events.
- The morning slot on Saturday is good for beginner drivers because the Pro drivers wait for the broadcast split.
- The earlier fixture is also handier if you are racing from Australasia/Asian parts of the world.
- The 12 PM slot will be when the pro spilt race will take place, so if you are not participating and wish to spectate this is the slot you’ll need to keep in mind.
- Evening slots can be great if you entered an earlier split but your race ended early, it gives you a second chance to compete in the event.
- Evening GMT times are also handy should you be based in places such as North and South America.
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What License Is Needed To Race?
To take part in the iRacing Fuji 8 Hours you need to reach a road racing licence of at least C level.
It must be remembered though that the licence you have doesn’t determine which split you are placed in, this will instead be sorted out by your total road racing iRating.
This means that there is the chance of you sharing a split with drivers that have high iRating, but a lower license. This suggests that they may struggle to drive cleanly, so if placed into a high split don’t automatically assume everyone can operate at a pro level.
If you currently don’t have a high enough license level to take part in the Fuji event, why not refer to Coach Dave Academy’s iRacing license guide so that you can work towards getting to the required license level ahead of the race?
Competing in special events such as the Fuji 8 Hours are also handy for increasing your license level. Due to the extended length of these races, the opportunity for you to make massive iRating and safety rating gains is huge as long as you drive cleanly across the distance.
What Is The Fuji International Speedway?
The Fuji International Speedway is one of Japan’s most recognizable and infamous racing venues, the track has hosted the Formula 1 World Championship as recently as 2008.
Today the circuit which is nestled in the shadow of Mount Fuji hosts the Japanese round of the World Endurance Championship as well as events part of the ultra-competitive Super GT and Super Formula series.
The Fuji 8-Hour race will utilise the Grand Prix layout of the circuit, which features a slow chicane section towards the end of the lap that tests a vehicle’s mechanical grip as well as the drivers’ patience.
The 4.5-kilometre track may look relatively straightforward on a map, but its blend of extremely fast corners and very slow bends make it a challenging venue to get right.
The ultra-fast Turn 3, or Coca-Cola Corner, demands huge commitment from the driver as does the following long-right hander of 100R. The slow final sector is arguably the hardest part of the circuit, and therefore the easiest to lose time.
The Fuji 8-Hour contest will be run as a single-class endurance outing for the GT3 category of cars, which features a total of six vehicles that will fight for supremacy around the twists and turns of the Fuji International Speedway.
The GT3 roster that makes up the Fuji 8-Hour field comprises of six cars, which represent six different manufacturers. The cars have relatively high downforce, ABS, and traction control, with performance being equalised by iRacing’s Balance of Performance (BOP) system.
|Audi R8 LMS GT3||Mid-engined layout, naturally-aspirated 5.2-liter V10|
|BMW M4 GT3||Front-engined layout, turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six|
|Ferrari 296 GT3||Mid-engined layout, turbocharged 2.9-liter V6|
|Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo||Mid-engined layout, naturally-aspirated 5.2-liter V10|
|Mercedes-AMG GT3 2020||Front-engined layout, naturally-aspirated 6.3-liter V8|
|Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)||Rear-engined layout, naturally-aspirated 4.2-liter flat-six|
Need Setups For The Series?
Our iRacing Setup Subscription allows you to focus purely on your on-track performance. And, with access to our free Coach Dave Delta app, installing them couldn’t be any easier.
- Race setups
- Qualifying setups
- Onboard laps
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- All crafted by professionals
Race Format and Strategy
The grid for each split will decided by one of iRacing’s customary qualifying sessions that run over eight minutes and grant two fast laps. One driver from each team must be designated to qualify the car, though the driver who takes the start can be different from the one that qualifies.
The race will subsequently get underway with a rolling start procedure, which helps to split the field up to prevent too much carnage at the opening bend.
The Fuji 8-Hour event will feature dynamic weather, meaning that the grip the track surface produces will change as the race progresses. More cloud cover as well as changes in the atmospheric temperature can have a significant effect on the way your car drives through the stint.
- Staying on top of the track and the conditions across the race is a crucial ingredient to success, so practising in multiple track conditions is advised to work out which changes you need to make to variables such as tyre pressures as the conditions change.
- Track temperature can have a profound effect on tyre wear, so important to adjust driving style accordingly
- More tyre preservation should be done with hotter track conditions, less can be done when the track is cooler, such as during night running
Consistency is key should you want to remain up front for the entirety of the running time. The race demands a completely different set of skills from the all-out qualifying session.
- Good consistency will allow you to keep up the pressure on the cars ahead, as well as force the car behind to be consistently quicker and not just wait for an error
- Will help to save tyres, not pushing 100% should help prevent mistakes and potentially costly tyre lock-ups
- Could prevent rivals from wanting to pass you at all costs, working with others will always be quicker than fighting
Being a GT3-only event, you won’t have to worry about continuously scanning your mirrors for faster GTP or LMP2 traffic coming up behind to lap you.
- This means you can focus more on what’s happening before you and get into a clean, safe rhythm.
- Achieving this is crucial if you are to look after your tyres across multiple stints, depending on which strategy you employ.
- Patience is prevalent when overtaking slower GT3 traffic, getting worked up if they don’t instantly move aside will negatively affect your mindset and therefore consistency
Should you follow these tips, there’s no reason why your team shouldn’t be able to compete at the very front of whichever split you are part of.
The virtual Coach Dave Academy iRacing Fuji 8 Hours trophy is there for the taking! Remember, bolting on a Coach Dave Academy-prepared iRacing setup can help you save your rubber more effectively as you won’t need to push as hard to make lap time.