Two Wheels Motor Racing, the promoter of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC), yesterday announced its provisional calendar for 2018. And the good news is that the action begins in just two months from now.
It will be the 23rd year for the series, which serves up some of the closest racing seen anywhere in the world, pitting established international stars, such as Noriyuki Haga and Tomoyoshi Koyama against some of Asia’s most exciting young racers, like Zaqwan Zaidi and Taiga Hada.
It will also be the final season for the howling Supersports 600 class, which will bow to market pressure and make way for the 1000cc Superbike class in 2019.
The venues include established circuits as well as an exciting inter-continental move to The Bend Motorsports Park.
Chang International Circuit, Thailand
Barely more than three years old, Chang International Circuit will book-end the season, beginning with the Pre-Season Test on 27-28 February, which will run straight into Round 1 on 2-4 March; the sixth and final round will be held on 30 November to 2nd December. 2018 will be a big year for the Thai track, which will host an official MotoGP Winter Test in mid-February as well as the race in October. It will also host a round of the World Superbike Championship for the fourth successive year in March. ARRC was the first international series ever to race at the circuit, beginning a strong relationship between the series and the circuit owner.
The Bend Motorsports Park, Australia
ARRC Round 2 will take place over 19-22 April during a four day extravaganza at the brand new South Australian circuit, which will see it run together with the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK). It is a strategic move, as it not only brings FIM Asia and FIM Oceana together, but looks ahead to ARRC’s inaugural Superbike season in 2019, as the two series will both run under FIM Superstock 1000 regulations. This will enable teams from Asia and Australia to race in both championships, to the benefit of the sport throughout the extended Asia Pacific region. It will also be the circuit’s first international event.
Suzuka Circuit, Japan
The series returns to Suzuka, one of the world’s most iconic race tracks, for Round 3 from 1-3 June. Opened in 1962, the circuit is steeped in history for all classes of four and two-wheeled motor racing, though today is perhaps best known for endurance racing, including the Suzuka 8-Hours Endurance.
Madras Motor Race Track, India
ARRC returned to Madras in 2017 after a four year absence and will host Round 4 from 3-5 August. During the intervening period, track re-surfacing, new pit lane, race control and hospitality facilities transformed the 33 year old circuit, which delivered a well-organised and spectacular show, to earn itself another date in the diary.
Sentul Circuit, Indonesia
Sentul retains its place in the calendar for Round 5 from 12-14 October. Despite showing its age, this 24 year old circuit is well run by its regular management and officials and arguably serves up the best atmosphere of the season, thanks to the huge, boisterous crowds that turn up to cheer on their home riders and generally enjoy the show.
In addition to Supersports 600, the Asia Production 250cc and Underbone 150cc classes are confirmed for 2018.
Good news for viewers in Thailand is that they will be able to watch the whole series on True4U, one of the country’s most popular terrestrial television stations.
Wroommm!! will be watching for rider and team movements during the closed season and bring you news as it breaks.