July 18, 2013


2013 SUPER GT Round 4 Preview

Round 4 of the 2013 SUPER GT series, the SUGO GT 300km Race will be held at Sportsland SUGO, located in Murata, Miyagi Prefecture on the outskirts of Sendai City on July 27 and 28.

SUGO International Racing Course is the second shortest of the circuits SUPER GT visits, the 3.704-km track edging out Okayama International Circuit, site of this year's season-opener, and boasting the third highest average speed (behind Suzuka and Fuji) which results the laps times of 1 minute, 14 seconds - the quickest of any track on the calendar. The final corner, known as the fastest at any of the circuits that host series' events, affects the top speed on the upward sloping straight that it leads into, so whether or not a driver can clear this corner at full throttle is an important point for car set-up as well as overall driving performance. Nissan entries have fared well at the circuit thus far, with the factory Nismo-entered car winning in 2009, and MOLA victorious in 2011. Still fresh in our memories is last year, where champions MOLA mounted their fightback from a tough first half of the season to take third place on the podium before stringing together a series of strong finishes in the second half of the campaign on their way to a second successive title.

The machines, having returned from Round 3 in Sepang, are undergoing joint tests at Suzuka Circuit in the week before the main event at SUGO. The #12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R, which took its first win this season in Malaysia, will be heading to SUGO after final checks have been completed. Expected to be in top form, the #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R, which has dominated the GT-R entries at SUGO in recent years, and the #1 REITO MOLA GT-R, will both be contending for honors. Naturally, it goes without saying that all the GT-R entries including #24 D'station ADVAN GT-R will be aiming to win.

Next year sees a revision of the series' Technical Regulations, making this the final season for the machines currently in service under the 2009 regs. Each of the three manufacturers is striving to win a final title with the current machine. As proof of this, all three have taken a victory apiece in the trio of rounds so far, making for a totally even competition. Sportsland SUGO, which features both technical and high-speed sections, is a circuit that suits the versatile strengths of the Nissan GT-R. However, advances made by rivals, each of whom will be aiming at their second victory of the season, cannot be ignored.

In the GT300 class, the NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3 has expanded its lineup this season, with the #30 IWASAKI OGT Racing machine joining the GT-R camp from SUGO onward. Furthermore, expectations are high for the #3 S Road NDDP GT-R, fresh off its first points-scoring result of the year in Sepang, so momentum is building. All eyes are watching to see which team will take the first victory for Nismo's GT3 car this season.

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