September 20, 2012
|2011 SUPER GT - SUPER GT in KYUSHU 300km|
Round 7 of the 2012 SUPER GT series - SUPER GT in KYUSHU 300km will be held on September 29 and 30 at Autopolis in Oita Prefecture, Japan. This Autopolis round is the most recent addition to the series - added in 2003, but since then has been an important round as the penultimate race of the season and one which can determine the championship.
Four Nissans will appear in the GT500 class. NISMO's #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R will be driven by Satoshi Motoyama and Michael Krumm (Germany) -one of the best duos in Japan, both for their experience and track record. MOLA will compete with #1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R driven by Masataka Yanagida and Ronnie Quintarelli (Italy), TEAM IMPUL with #12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R driven by Tsugio Matsuda and Joao Paulo de Oliveira (Brazil), and KONDO RACING with #24 D'station ADVAN GT-R driven by Hironobu Yasuda and Bjorn Wirdheim (Sweden).
Located at the foot of Mt. Aso, Autopolis is known as a technical circuit with a combination of mid and high-speed corners together with differences in elevation. Its uphill sector, with its series of mid-speed curves after a long downhill straight is said to be the key to mastering the track. The track surfaces were fixed in the off-season last year, and this will be the first SUPER GT race after a repair. A joint test by tyre manufacturers was held here at the end of August, and three teams with a GT-R, MOLA, TEAM IMPUL and KONDO RACING took part. Even though NISMO didn't join, Krumm drove a TEAM IMPUL car, which uses the same Bridgestone tyres in this test, and so the team is ready for this race.
After the #1 MOLA entry clinching their first win of the season in Round 5 at Suzuka, and the #12 TEAM IMPUL following the same fate in the previous round at Fuji, a third consecutive victory by a GT-R at Autopolis is much anticipated. In the tyre manufacturer joint test in August, MOLA's #1 recorded the top time on the first day in wet conditions. Even after conditions had dried up on the second day, MOLA's #1 and TEAM IMPUL's #12 recorded the second and third fastest times, which are close to the lead, proving that the GT-R is fast in any condition.
For the Autopolis round, weight handicaps have been reduced by half for almost all cars, including the Lexuses which demonstrated their form with good times in an official test held recently at Twin Ring Motegi and the Hondas which are allegedly looking to fight back with some work added to their hardware, so a high-speed battle is expected once again. The championship battle is on everyone's mind as the season comes to an end, and to stay in the running, this round is very important.
The GT300 class has been as thrilling as GT500, and Katsumasa Chiyo has been doing well in second in the rankings driving NDDP RACING's #3 S Road NDDP GT-R. The weight handicap on the #3 car will not be reduced this time because Yuhi Sekiguchi was absent from the previous round and round of #3 car is counted as sixth, meaning expectations will be high for Manager Masahiro Hasemi's leadership.