Local elementary schools’ pupils meet the FIA World Endurance Championships at Fuji | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

Local elementary schools’ pupils meet the FIA World Endurance Championships at Fuji

  • gb
19.09.22

On the occasion of the recently held 6 Hours of Fuji, the FIA World Endurance Championship’s first race in the land of the rising sun since 2019, the series resumed the tradition to open its doors to the local community by inviting children from nearby elementary schools

On Thursday and Friday, preceding the event, a total of 63 children from the nearby Senpukugaoka and Subashiri elementary schools were given the chance to experience the backstage of the series at Fuji International Speedway.

As part of the circuit’s over a decade-long tradition, the pupils, aged between 10-11, enjoyed a busy programme that kicked off with a digital presentation of the championship. Next was a visit to the FIA scrutineering area to receive an explanation on how the governing body of world motor sport assesses the compliance of the cars with the series’ Technical Regulations.


The pupils then visited garages of teams competing across FIA WEC’s four different classes, including local outfits Toyota Gazoo Racing and D’Station Racing, as well teams from further afield with Corvette Racing, Iron Dames and WRT all hosting the budding students.

Highlights from the garage tours included the pupils being shown around the Toyota garage and its GR010 Hybrid Hypercars by FIA WEC title-winner and three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Kazuki Nakajima. At D’Station, driver Satoshi Hoshino accompanied by the team’s engineer showcased the Aston Martin Vantage AMR.

On Friday morning the pupils participated in the pre-event press conference, with a panel of drivers consisting of Ryo Hirakawa, Sébastien Bourdais, James Rossiter, Miguel Molina and Henrique Chaves, the students were able to ask their own questions and put the drivers on the spot.


CIRCUIT SAFARI

Another long-standing local racing tradition was fulfilled during this year’s 6 Hours of Fuji, as five coaches took to the track in a dedicated session held directly ahead of Free Practice 3.

A multitude of media, teams’ guests as well as fans selected via lottery were able to experience the action first-hand aboard the coaches with cars of all classes blasting past, although the session was held under safety car conditions and with yellow flags waved in the areas the busses were passing through.

The original circuit safari bus concept was inspired by the nearby Fuji Safari Park, a park inhabited by lions and other wild animals, from which the name Circuit Safari and the idea of running buses on a racing course and watching racing cars from the bus was born.

The concept was first implemented by a domestic race promoter in the early 2000s and it has become an established event in Japan. Since 2017 it has been a mainstay on the schedule of FIA WEC’s Fuji race.

The buses themselves receive no modifications and are standard long-distance vehicles seating around 50 passengers. FIA WEC is currently the only international series to feature Safari Buses.