November 9, 2012


2012 SUPER GT Special Round - Fuji Sprint Cup Preview

The 2012 SUPER GT Special Event, the JAF-GP Fuji Sprint Cup, will be held for three days from November 16 through 18 at Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Prefecture. The Fuji Sprint Cup, a special event held immediately after the end of the season for the twin jewels of Japanese motorsports, SUPER GT and Formula Nippon, was first held two years ago in 2010. The post-season event has proven exceedingly popular among race fans, who can enjoy the nation's two top motorsports categories on the same bill. This year is the third running of the JAF Sprint Cup.

SUPER GT is a race series that pairs two drivers in each car, each alternating driving duties to complete long distance races of 250km to 300km, or even 500 or 1,000km depending on the race.The Fuji Sprint Cup is a 100km sprint (short distance) race, as the name suggests. The GT500 and GT300 classes, which usually compete alongside each other, will be split up for this event, with each class competing in two races each. Fans will be able to enjoy races that are a little different from the regular season events, with each of the two drivers in every car competing in one race apiece, and the familiar rolling start, one of the highlights of the SUPER GT season, being replaced with a standing start, where the drivers line up to form the starting grid after a formation lap.

There are a total of 4 NISSAN GT-R vehicles taking part in the GT500 class. In terms of experience and track record, the combination of Satoshi Motoyama and Michael Krumm (Germany), driving the NISMO-entered #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R, is the top draw. Besides NISMO, MOLA have the #1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R driven by Masataka Yanagida and Ronnie Quintarelli, while TEAM IMPUL are running the #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R with Tsugio Matsuda and Joao Paulo de Oliveira (Brazil), and KONDO RACING the #24 D'station ADVAN GT-R featuring Hironobu Yasuda and Bjorn Wirdheim (Sweden) as the leading contenders. Winning twice this year, at Suzuka and Autopolis, the MOLA squad has already taken the title 2 years in a row.

The Lexus SC430 group also seems to have recovered the momentum that it showed in the first half of the season. Even the Honda HSV runners, which are said to be unfavored at Fuji, managed to win at last year's Fuji Sprint Cup and are not to be taken lightly. Of course, it is the same for the GT-R entrants, all of whom are aiming for victories. This year, the regular season events held at Fuji took place in May and September. In the September round, the IMPUL and MOLA teams dominated the top two positions in qualifying and the race, amply demonstrating the GT-R's affinity with the circuit. In particular, NISMO pilot Motoyama, who ended the season without any wins commented, “The Fuji Sprint Cup is one of the few races that I haven't yet won in my career.” From this, you can easily tell how regretful he feels about not doing so. Let's hope he can turn that disappointment around to achieve a comeback victory that will be a crowning glory in his career.

Like the GT500 class, a fierce battle is also unfolding in GT300, and battling for victory until late stage of the season is the NDDP Racing-entered #3 S Road NDDP GT-R. Although the car suffered from a weight handicap till the final race of the regular season, this time around, it, like its rivals, will be carrying no handicap weight. Expectations are therefore running high in this head-on confrontation, the like of which has not been seen in this class for a long while.


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