GT Sport FIA 2020 Season Schedule Revealed: New Time Slots, New Tire Penalties

After circumstances dictated that Polyphony Digital had to transmute the original first ten races of the 2020 FIA Season into an Exhibition Series, it’s ready to start again for real. The official 2020 FIA Online Championship season restarts this coming Saturday, April 25.

Running the first block as an exhibition series allowed PD to listen to feedback and refine some ideas. We already know that an update we suspect is due this week will bring some changes to the handling, fuel consumption, and tire degradation to rebalance the cars, but there’s further changes afoot too.

Rather than taking up four evenings a week — two each for the two concurrent series — the FIA races will now run on just three. The mid-week races remain unchanged, with Nations Cup on Tuesdays and Manufacturer Series on Wednesdays. At the weekend however, it returns to the old format: alternating time slots on a Saturday.

The full schedule for the next ten-race block is as follows:

Nations Cup

  • Round 1 – April 25 – Autodrome Lago Maggiore Center II/GT Racing Kart 125 Shifter
  • Round 2 – April 28 – Dragon Trail Gardens II/Gr.4
  • Round 3 – May 2 – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya/Gr.2*
  • Round 4 – May 5 – Sardegna Road Track B II/N100
  • Round 5 – May 9 – Autodromo Nazionale Monza/Lamborghini Huracan Gr.4
  • Round 6 – May 12 – Nurburgring GP/Gr.4
  • Round 7 – May 16 – Suzuka Circuit/Gr.3*
  • Round 8 – May 19 – Blue Moon Bay Speedway Infield A/Mazda Roadster Touring Car
  • Round 9 – May 23 – Dragon Trail Seaside/Gr.3
  • Round 10 – May 30 – Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps/Gr.1*

Manufacturer Series

  • Round 1 – April 25 – Suzuka Circuit/Gr.4
  • Round 2 – April 29 – Red Bull Ring/Gr.3
  • Round 3 – May 2 – Dragon Trail Seaside/Gr.3*
  • Round 4 – May 6 – WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca/Gr.4
  • Round 5 – May 9 – Tokyo Expressway South Inner Loop/Gr.4
  • Round 6 – May 13 – Circuit de la Sarthe/Gr.3
  • Round 7 – May 16 – Sardegna Road Track B/Gr.3*
  • Round 8 – May 20 – Fuji International Speedway Short/Gr.4
  • Round 9 – May 23 – Autodrome Lago Maggiore GP/Gr.4
  • Round 10 – May 30 – Autódromo de Interlagos/Gr.3*

Three of the rounds in each series now include “Top 16 Superstar” races. These fall on May 2, May 16, and May 30 for both series, as noted by the asterisks above. There’s no information yet on which time slot they will fill, but it’s unlikely to remain as the center spot in order to prevent clashes.

In addition, the time slots are now also changing, and the Saturday slots are different to the mid-week ones — which seem to have moved to accommodate the change to and from summer time across the hemispheres.

For the EMEA region Tuesday/Wednesday races now start two hours earlier at 1400 UTC, with a slot every 80 minutes up to the final, fifth race at 1920 UTC. On Saturdays the races start an hour before that, with the first Nations Cup race at 1300 UTC. From there the slots open every 80 minutes, but alternate — Manufacturers at 1420 UTC, Nations at 1540 UTC, Manufacturers at 1700 UTC, Nations at 1820 UTC, and then finally Manufacturers again at 1940 UTC.

Elsewhere the weekday races start at 1600 AEST in Oceania, 1900 JST in Asia, 1800 BRT in South America, and 1400 PDT in North America. Saturday’s races always start one hour earlier in all regions. EMEA players also get further entry slots at 2040 and 2200 UTC on weekdays, and at 2100 (Nations) and 2220 (Manufacturers) on Saturday.

Aside from the changes due in this week’s update, there’s one other major change on the way, involving mandatory tires. Previously, any driver not using a mandatory tire during a race faced a 20-second post-race penalty. However, an unusual set of circumstances in the Laguna Seca round of the Exhibition Series meant that the advantage gained by ignoring tire requirements outweighed the penalty for doing so. That’s prompted PD to up the punishment, to a 60-second penalty.

We’ll bring you more information, including a full track/car schedule, when we get it.

Featured image courtesy of Stephan.

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