April 22, 2013
Sportsland SUGO, Miyagi prefecture (April 20 - 21, 2013) - The first round of the Super Taikyu Series was held at Sportsland SUGO. The #81 GTNET ADVAN NISSAN GT-R (Takayuki Aoki, Kazuki Hoshino, Naofumi Omoto) won the overall pole position, but the race was canceled because of snow.
#81 GTNET ADVAN NISSAN GT-R
#24 ThreeBond Nissan Technical College GT-R
Although the Super Taikyu season-opener was held at Fuji Speedway last year, this year it was back at Sportsland SUGO, where it has been held most years. Nissan power gathered in Sendai totaled eight cars, with two NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3s, two Fairlady Z33s, and four Z34s. In the official qualifying session, which took place in weather that was unusually cold for the end of April, the two GT-Rs competing in the GT3 class began the battle for pole position. Aoki and Hoshino, who took charge of the qualifying attack in the #81 GT-R, won pole with the combined time of the two drivers beating second place by 0.4 seconds. The #24 ThreeBond Nissan Technical College GT-R (Tomonobu Fujii, GAMISAN, Katsumasa Chiyo), took second place in the qualifying round, with B-driver Chiyo setting a new track record. In the ST-3 class, the #77 B-MAX Nippon Kompo Shizai Z33 (DRAGON, Yuhi Sekiguchi) took pole position. In addition, three Fairlady Z33 entries occupied the top four spots in the class.
In a collaborative project begun last year between Nissan Technical College and KONDO RACING, many students are participating once again this year. For this race, Nissan Tochigi Automobile College and Nissan Yokohama Automobile College are taking part. Although 120 students brought in to cheer on the racers were unable to make it to the circuit because of accumulated snow, the 70 students who, like last year, were working by being divided into the technical group, management group, and the public relations group were able to flexibly make appropriate responses to sudden changes in the schedule. The team's driver line-up, in addition to Tomonobu Fujii and GAMISAN, are Katsumasa Chiyo and Daiki Sasaki, who both received scholarships in the Nissan Driver Development Program (NDDP) and will be registered as the third driver. Chiyo, who will be racing with students as the third driver this time, commented, “On the first day, it looked as though there were some students who were lost doing their very first job, but as time progressed their work pace went up and by Saturday they were working so well it was as if they were different people.‘ Looking back on the race week, he said, “There are many people in the pit, and I strongly felt that everyone was warmly watching over us.’
Takayuki Aoki (#81 GTNET ADVAN NISSAN GT-R / 1st in qualifying)
“I was a bit nervous because this is my first time running in qualifying in the GT-R, but I was helped greatly by the advice I received from development driver Hoshino. I was unable to get a clear lap for a while, but I got the timing right during my final attack and was able to accomplish a run I am satisfied with. We weren't able to complete a long-run check with this car and I wanted to race this time to record data, so I'm a bit disappointed.’
Tomonobu Fujii (#24 ThreeBond Nissan Technical College GT-R / 2nd in qualifying)
“The 2013 GT-R has more downforce, and I strongly felt that the performance level has gone up. I'm sure the track conditions had some effect as well, but the competitiveness of the GT-R has improved and that resulted in me being able to substantially better my track record. I am going to try my best this year as well, along with the students.’