June 5, 2013
Round 3 of the 2013 SUPER GT season takes place on June 15 and 16, when the series visits the host of the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix, Sepang International Cricuit.
|2012 SUPER GT INTERNATIONAL SERIES MALAYSIA|
At 5.543km, Sepang International Circuit is the longest of the regular SUPER GT tracks after Suzuka. It is also a wide track, providing plenty of opportunities for overtaking through the clever interplay of straights and corners, and is famed amongst drivers as a course that really makes you fight for the win. The NISSAN GT-R GT500 has shown good form at Sepang, seizing a pole position start there three years running, beginning on its debut in 2008, and with a race victory still fresh in the memory. The #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R of TEAM IMPUL, and the #24 D'station ADVAN GT-R of KONDO RACING, will be aiming to establish domination at Sepang this year. Of course, it goes without saying that both NISMO's #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R and MOLA's #1 REITO MOLA GT-R will be gunning for a second win for Michelin at Sepang.
Being located near the equator, Sepang International Circuit experiences high temperatures even in midwinter, when conditions are similar to those of midsummer in Japan. As a result, private tests have been conducted there throughout the off-season. The Nissan camp, led by NISMO and in conjunction with tire manufacturers, were quick to introduce off-season testing. Consequently, although the race itself only takes place once a year, plenty of data has been accumulated, allowing the team to tune vehicle settings to a finer degree, just as they do on the more familiar main circuits in Japan.
Course records have been set on each circuit so far in this final season for GT500 cars running to 2009 vehicle regulations, and it is expected that Sepang will also see a new record set. However, rival teams are sure to be squeezing everything they can out of their machines, so complacency would be unwise. Honda, having established a good recent record at Sepang, could be dangerous, as could Lexus who, despite struggling at Sepang in the past, will be building on the momentum of their dominant finish at Fuji.
Having increased their showing to some vehicles this season, attention will also be focused on the NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3s. Private teams have been performing remarkably against the #3 S Road NDDP GT-R, which is driven by younger drivers from Nissan's driver training program, NDDP. The #48 DIJON Racing IS GT-R came top amongst the NISMO GT3s in the opening race of the season, with the #7 OGT Bonds Racing GT-R claiming the same honor in the second race. On the other hand, All eyes will be on the NDDP GT-R at the third race in Sepang.