October 17, 2012
Round 8 of SUPER GT (the final race of the season) will be held at Twin Ring Motegi in Tochigi Prefecture on October 27 and 28. The circuit, which also has a 1.5-mile (approx.2.4km) oval course, was the scene of an all-star race in 1997, but regular series' races, which started the following year, 1998, have used the 4.8km road course. Since 2009, Twin Ring Motegi has hosted the final round of the series, and has been the scene of added drama as the outcome of the championship has unfolded. In accordance with series' regulations, all handicap weights have been removed for the final race, and the head-on competition is expected to provide even more intense battles than in previous rounds.
The Nissan camp has entered four cars in the GT500 class battle. NISMO's #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R will be driven by Satoshi Motoyama and Michael Krumm (Germany), quite possibly Japan's top driving duo, in terms of both experience and performance. MOLA will be represented by Masataka Yanagida and Ronnie Quintarelli (Italy) in the #1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R, Team IMPUL have Tsugio Matsuda and Joao Paulo de Olivieira in the #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R, while rounding out the lineup, KONDO Racing will be represented by Hironobu Yasuda and Bjorn Wirdheim (Sweden) in the #24 D'station ADVAN GT-R. Prior to this race, the MOLA squad has already secured their second double title for Driver's and Team's in as many seasons.
The main feature of Twin Ring Motegi is its layout, which is often described as “stop-and-go.” It is considered a difficult track on which to overtake, and many say that the starting grid is very important - and this means there will be heated battles for position in qualifying. Additionally, from the fifth round at SUGO through to the previous event at Autopolis, the GT-R camp has had three consecutive victories, so their fourth win on the trot is on the line in this final event at Motegi. Official GTA tests were held here in mid-September, and all members of the GT-R camp recorded excellent times. Among them, Team IMPUL showed speed sufficient to break the track record, raising expectations for their performance in the season-ending event.
At that same official test, the Lexus camp, who took three wins in the first half of the season, were able to regain their momentum, and will bear caution. The Honda camp meanwhile, which have stalled at a single win for the season in Sepang, are sure to try to make a comeback on their home course. The three-way battles are certain to be interesting.
In the GT300 class, NDDP RACING's #3 S ROAD NDDP GT-R has unfortunately lost their chance at the title. Also, since Yuhi Sekiguchi sat out the sixth round at Fuji, he faces a difficult situation as he will not be able to remove the handicap weights from the floor of his machine, but his top time at Autopolis, despite the nearly 100kg weight handicap, increases the hopes for wins in two classes in the final race together with the GT500 Class GT-Rs.