The second stage of GT Sport’s radically altered 2020 FIA Online Championship gets underway this week, with another block of ten races in each of the two series.
Normally, each set of ten races would act as qualifiers to grand, showpiece World Tour events around the world — with the overall standings granting World Final qualification. However, thanks to real-world events, those plans are on hold. Nonetheless, we anticipate that the stages will count for something towards the end of the year.
There’s been a few changes ahead of the second stage, most notable of which is a complete rebalancing of the main racing categories. Gr.3 is more finely tuned, but some of the BOP alterations in Gr.4 are considerably more radical. Along with it, players got the chance to change manufacturers, at the cost of forfeiting any accumulated points.
The full schedule for the next ten-race block is as follows:
- Round 11 – June 2 – Suzuka Circuit/N200
- Round 12 – June 6 – Kyoto Driving Park – Yamagiwa/N500
- Round 13 – June 9 – Dragon Trail – Seaside II/Gr.4
- Round 14 – June 13 – Tokyo Expressway – East Outer Loop/GReddy Fugu Z
- Round 15 – June 16 – Fuji International Speedway/Gr.2
- Round 16 – June 20 – Nurburgring GP/Pagani Zonda R ’09*
- Round 17 – June 23 – Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (Wet)/Gr.3
- Round 18 – June 27 – Willow Springs – Streets of Willow Springs/Gr.4
- Round 19 – June 30 – WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca/Gr.1
- Round 20 – July 4 – Circuit de Sainte-Croix – C/Gran Turismo F1500T-A*
- Round 11 – June 3 – Brands Hatch Grand Prix/Gr.3
- Round 12 – June 6 – Circuit de Sainte-Croix – A/Gr.4
- Round 13 – June 10 – Willow Springs – Big Willow/Gr.3
- Round 14 – June 13 – Autodromo de Interlagos/Gr.4
- Round 15 – June 17 – Dragon Trail – Gardens II/Gr.3
- Round 16 – June 20 – Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps/Gr.4*
- Round 17 – June 24 – Alsace Village/Gr.4
- Round 18 – June 27 – Fuji International Speedway/Gr.3
- Round 19 – July 1 – Red Bull Ring – Short/Gr.4
- Round 20 – July 4 – Nurburgring 24h/Gr.3*
In terms of scheduling, nothing has changed from Stage 1. That means PD is sticking to its alternating weekdays, unified Saturdays plan for the two championships, along with all existing timeslots. EMEA region players get seven slots on weekdays and four for each series on Saturday, while other regions have to make do with five and three slots respectively.
Across the five regions, weekday races start at 1600 AEST in Oceania, 1900 JST in Asia, 1400 UTC for EMEA, 1800 BRT in South America, and 1400 PDT in North America, running every 80 minutes until the final slot. On Saturdays the races start one hour earlier with a Nations Cup race, alternating between that and Manufacturer Series every 80 minutes until the final slot. Two races in each series — Rounds 16 and 20 — have a Top 16 Superstars event.
There are two further changes coming for the second stage however. The first sees qualifying return to its fixed, ten-minute plus one lap format. Earlier in the year, PD had experimented with variable windows to suit the circuit, but it has reverted to a fixed ten minutes, with cars able to finish a lap they had started before the timer expired. One exception is Round 20 in the Manufacturer Series, which is now 14 minutes — to allow cars to drive a full outlap before running their qualifying lap.
One highly unusual change comes in Round 14 of the Nations Cup. That race features the first appearance of adjustable settings in an FIA event. It’s a very rare occurrence in any scheduled race, much less an FIA race, and should provide an interesting change to the established order. This may also apply to Round 17 in Nations, which takes place at a wet Spa-Francorchamps.
As usual, racers will need to be aware of the mandatory tire rule. Five races in each championship — Rounds 12, 13, 15, 17, and 20 of Manufacturers, and Rounds 13, 16, 18, 19, and 20 in Nations — have such a rule. Drivers who do not complete at least one lap on each type of required tire in the race will face a 60-second post-race penalty.
Featured image courtesy of MedigoFlame.