July 19, 2012
|2011 SUPER GT
SUGO GT 250km RACE
The fourth round of SUPER GT, the “SUGO GT 300km RACE” will be held at Sportsland SUGO, located in the suburbs of Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture on July 28 and 29. The SUGO round has been held at this time of the year since 2005, and is one of the important mid-season contests in determining the direction of the series.
The team lineups in the NISSAN camp are similar to the previous outing at Sepang. The #23 NISMO MOTUL AUTECH GT-R will be driven by the driver combo of Satoshi Motoyama and Michael Krumm (Germany), while the lineups at the other teams include series' defending champions 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.
Because temperatures are high at this time of year at SUGO, this round, the previous race at Sepang, and the following round at Suzuka are collectively called the “Mid-Summer Tri-series.” On the other hand, it often rains during the SUGO event, which causes the ambient and track surface temperatures to drop suddenly. This will be at the forefront of the teams' minds when they choose which tyres to bring to the circuit. It is sure to be no end of concern for the teams' coaches, engineers and tyre engineers. The main special features of the track are the high-speed final corner, and the uphill main straight that directly follows. Just how drivers attack this part of the course will significantly affect lap times. On a technical note, this final corner and up-hill straight places the track in the power circuit category. Since the air restrictors in all vehicles have been increased in size by two ranks this season, there is quite a bit of anticipation that the current course record, set in 2007, and which has been allowed to stand for five years, will be broken.
Although having displayed plenty of pace this season, the GT-R teams have yet to achieve a victory due to accidents and other unfortunate occurrences. The MOLA team, which last year notched up their first victory at SUGO, is keen to become consecutive winners of this event. In the same way, all other teams are eager to make this year's SUGO round a springboard for future success. Both the #1 team (MOLA), which is aiming for consecutive race wins here, and the #23 team, aiming to recapture the title, are impatient for a victory to achieve their respective goals. The aspirations of the #12 and #24 teams are the same, and the NISSAN camp is anticipating a strike-back with this four-car GT-R assault.
SUGO is one of the tracks favoured by the NISSAN GT-R, which aims to be an almighty racing machine. However, the Honda HSV is quite similar in character to the GT-R, and it too favours the SUGO track. The HSV is therefore expected to be a fierce rival to the GT-R in this upcoming round. Of course, you cannot ignore the Lexus teams, which have already secured two victories to date. Much attention is being focused on SUGO to see what kind of fight each camp will deliver.
Additionally, there are high expectations for NDDP RACING's #3 S Road NDDP GT-R, which until now has demonstrated sufficient speed, to clinch their first victory.