June 1, 2012
|2011 SUPER GT|
The SUPER GT International Series Malaysia, round 3 of the 2012 SUPER GT season, will be held on June 9 and 10 at the Sepang International Circuit, located near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Since it was first held as an exhibition race in 2000, the event has become an established part of the SUPER GT season, bringing the Malaysian crowd red-hot competition as the teams and personnel escape the rainy season that descends on Japan in June. The length of the race this year has also been returned to the 300km distance that it was until the year before last.
The Nissan camp, fielding the Nissan GT-R, has four teams and four cars competing in the series, similar to last year. With the exception of Michael Krumm (Germany) returning to the team after a four-year absence to partner NISMO ace Satoshi Motoyama, the team lineups remain unchanged. The driver lineup for the teams aside from #23 NISMO MOTUL AUTECH GT-R are Masataka Yanagida and Ronnie Quintarelli (Italy) in the #1 MOLA S Road REITO MOLA GT-R, Tsugio Matsuda and Joao Paulo de Oliveira (Brazil) in the #12 Team IMPUL Calsonic IMPUL GT-R, and Hironobu Yasuda and Bjorn Wirdheim (Sweden) in the #24 KONDO Racing D'Station ADVAN GT-R.
Since the temperatures at Sepang are high even in winter, conditions tend to be similar to the middle of summer, and thus during the off-season every year, private tests are conducted at the circuit. The Nissan camp, represented by NISMO, have been conducting off-season tests since the early stages, and though the race is held only once a year, they have collected sufficient data and are able to reach a more optimal set-up on the cars. Since the air restrictors in GT500 machines have been increased in size by two ranks due to changes in the technical regulations this season, there has been a significant increase in speed, and it is expected that the track record, which has stood since it was recorded in 2007, will be broken.
Having displayed pace in both of the two events since the season began, NISMO, who missed their chance to win due to unfortunate occurrences, are aiming to seize the title. Meanwhile MOLA, who are seeking a repeat victory, this race is a must-win. For the MOLA team and the #1 GT-R, mounted on Michelin tyres that are well-suited to very hot conditions, that feeling is sure to be very strong. The hot conditions are presumably desirable for the #24 GT-R as well, sitting on Yokohama rubber. Both teams wish to win here and use it to rebound in the second half of the season.
The layout of Sepang International Circuit incorporates a rhythmical series of medium and high-speed corners, and is one of the courses to which the Nissan GT-R is best suited. However, the Lexus camp, who have won twice so far, and the Honda teams, who, though winless, are the points' leaders through their consistency of placing on the podium, have also been conducting off season tests at Sepang in recent years, and it goes without saying that the GT-R's rivals are waiting for their chance. You will want to watch not only the battle between the GT-R teams, but also the battles with their rivals.
This season, in addition to its involvement in the GT500 class, the GT-R is also participating in the GT300 class. The NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3 is the first domestically produced car eligible for the FIA GT3 class, a category that has recently seen a wide variety of super sports cars with similar specifications join its ranks, and which have in 2012, become a major force in GT300. This machine, known as the NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3, competes in SUPER GT entrusted to a pair of drivers from the NDDP, the Nissan Driver Development Program, a training program for young up-and-coming hopefuls.
The expectations for a first victory are rising for the NDDP RACING #3 S Road NDDP GT-R, a machine that has shown us its speed at every turn so far.