Video: Japan GT Championship 2003 Race 1 Highlights
Long-time readers of the blog will probably know that I'm a big fan of Japan's Super GT race series – or the All Japan Grand Touring Championship (JGTC for short) as it was known until 2005.
There are a lot of reasons why I love Super GT and if you want a detailed explanation you can read thisarticle I wrote back in 2015. The biggest reason is that the cars are based on road-going performance vehicles and still resemble them enough to be recognizable. Underneath the skin however the rules give enough leeway that the cars pack design and technology worthy of a Formula 1 or Le Mans race car. In fact, the top tier GT500 cars are so fast their lap times can even give prototypes a run for their money. Despite all the tech and the sheer speed the rules have performance and weight adjustments built in to keep the racing tight so individual races and the championships often come to nail-biting conclusions.
Super GT is Japan's top racing series so the country's Big Three automakers Nissan, Toyota, and Honda throw huge resources and a lot of pride and hard work into the competition. All that makes for an import fan's wet dream as highly-modified GT-Rs claw it out with Supras and NSXs on some of racing's best circuits like Suzuka and Fuji Speedway.
Okay, the race queens are gorgeous too but I swear I mainly watch Super GT for the racing just like I used to read Penthouse for the articles.
The sad part about Super GT is that it's been hard to watch it outside of Japan especially if your mastery of Japanese consists only of “sushi”, “sayonara”, and “fruit ninja!”. For a few years starting in 2015 Nismo broadcast the races on YouTube with excellent English commentary from the team at Radio Le Mans. After Nismo dropped its sponsorship in 2018 you could still catch some races with English commentary from YouTube channels like The Race and even the official Super GT channel but as of 2021 Super GT is back to having only Japanese commentary on the World Wide Web.
At least you can still watch the racing unlike earlier years when there was almost no way to view it outside of Japan.
Back in the early 2000s though the Speed Channel still existed and it was a home for a wide variety of motorsports unlike its later years when it was ruined by Fox and turned into yet another NASCAR channel.
Before its demise Speed Channel actually televised highlights from a couple of JGTC seasons including one of my all-time favorites – the 2003 championship. That year was the last for the R34 in Super GT and that year's car was a particularly sexy beast with low-slung and aggressive new body work (if you want to know more about what made that year's car so special you can read this other article I wrote about it. I need to warn you though that it contains a summary of the 2003 season so needless to say...SPOILERS!).
As a fanboy of the JGTC I recorded those highlight shows and now I've decided to upload them to the blog's YouTube channel for posterity. Since this is a very rare instance of the JGTC being televised with English commentary I wanted other import and motorsport fans to have a chance to enjoy the awesome racing from that season. Today I've uploaded the first race of the 2003 season and plan on putting up the rest every 1-2 weeks as my time allows. Eventually I also plan to upload the 2002 season highlights that I also recorded. I don't claim any rights to this video and just want to share them for others to enjoy. They won't be monetized so I hope the YouTube copyright bots don't throw a spanner in the works.
If the videos go up successfully I hope you'll have a great watch and learn more about this amazing racing series!