August 12, 2013
Fuji Speedway, Shizuoka prefecture (10-11 August, 2013) - Round 4 of the Super Taikyu Series took place at Fuji Speedway, where in the GT3 class, the #81 GTNET ADVAN NISSAN GT-R (Takayuki Aoki/Kazuki Hoshino/Naofumi Omoto/Hiroki Yoshida) took the third step on the podium.
#81 GTNET ADVAN NISSAN GT-R
#24 ThreeBond Nissan Technical College GT-R
This event was a seven-hour endurance race, the longest of the season. Thus, there were four-driver teams participating, and the #24 Threebond Nissan Technical College GT-R was joined by Daiki Sasaki, who drives the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 in SUPER GT, in addition to Tomonobu Fujii, GAMISAN and Katsumasa Chiyo. Sasaki broke Fuji Speedwayfs GT3-class course record in qualifying. Based on his combined time with GAMISAN, the #24 GT-R placed second in the session following the #81 GT-R, which had obtained pole position, so that the first row of the starting grid was monopolized by Nissan GT-Rs.
The race started at 11:02 a.m. The #81 GT-R driven by Aoki as starting driver held the leading position until about 40 minutes into the race. He returned to the pit for refuelling when the safety car was brought out due to a minor collision that had occurred at the final corner, temporarily relinquishing his position to other cars. After that, he once again rose to the top on lap 50. By the time two hours had passed, he had increased his lead over the second place car to nearly one minute. At the time of the pit stop, just past the halfway point of the race, the #81 GT-R had been running laps steadily in 2nd place when the heavens suddenly opened and rain fell in torrents. This was just as the top-placed machine completed its 140th lap, instantly changing on-track conditions to heavy wet. Each car pitted for rain tires, and after a lightning-quick change, the #81 GT-R emerged in the lead. That position was swapped when final stint driver Kazuki Hoshino climbed aboard and the gap between the top-placed machine and the #81 GT-R, again running in second, grew to about 1 minute. Nonetheless, Hoshino was in hot pursuit with fresh tires. He put in a number of fastest laps in quick succession, closing the gap to 14 seconds after 25 laps. However, with just a little bit remaining he was forced to lower his pace due to car trouble, and he passed the finish line in third place.
From its second place start after qualifying, the #24 GT-R kept a steady pace from start to finish, blowing through lap after lap, to cross the line in fourth place. “The car used in the race was extremely well-built, and our lap times were stable. In the opening stages, we had an irregular machine check that lost us some time, and the safety car's entry timing was not good for us, causing us to drop in position. However, thanks to excellent car balance we were able to rapidly move up in position in the closing part of the race. We fought alongside the students, who had never experienced a seven-hour endurance race before today, and I think we shared in knowing the importance of not giving up until the end,” Fujii said afterwards, reflecting on the race.
Nissan vehicles also made a strong showing in the ST3 class. GT driver Hironobu Yasuda's #34 "Asset Techno Z34" (Masahiro/Shuji Maejima/Hironobu Yasuda) took the second step on the podium, and the #15 "Okabe Jidosha DIXCEL Team Tetsuya Z34" (Masaaki Nagashima/Toru Tanaka/Tetsuya Tanaka/Ryuichiro Tomita) took third, achieving their goal of standing upon the winners' podium for a second consecutive event.
Kazuki Hoshino (#81 GTNET ADVAN NISSAN GT-R/Race: 3rd)
“Due to the entry of the safety car in the beginning, and the heavy rain mid-race, I was chosen as the driver for the final stint. However, since there is a limit to how long a driver can race, Aoki had to prolong his stint until it was possible to put me in the car. Since the rain ended at the end of Aoki's stint, I had to ride with wet tires on a road surface that had begun to dry. This shortened the gap between our car and the cars behind us, and we weren't able to pull off a comeback. If it hadn't been for that, I am confident we could have gotten back on top. The pace of the car was good, and I don't think we lost to the other competitors, but rather I feel we lost to the weather today. We have to let that go, and do our best in the next round.”
|Pos||No||Machine||Driver||Time / Behind|
|1||1||PETRONAS SYNTIUM SLS AMG GT3||D.Ang/N.Taniguchi/M.Moh||7:01'35.367|
|3||81||GTNET ADVAN NISSAN GT-R||K.Hoshino/T.Aoki/N.Omoto/H.Yoshida||2Laps|
|4||24||ThreeBond Nissan Technical College GT-R||GAMISAN/D.Sasaki/K.Chiyo/T.Fujii||2Laps|
|Pos||No||Machine||Driver||Time / Behind|
|1||80||PETRONAS TWS GS350||S.Sato/H.Yoshimoto/S.Wakisaka||7:02'55.053|
|2||34||asset techno Z34||Masahiro Sasaki/Shuji Maejimar||1Lap|
DIXCEL Team Tetsuya Z
my road Kyoshin-Keisoku Z33
|8||5||Okabe Jidosha Makers Z34||D.Imamura/M.Atake/T.Shirai/H.Iriguchi||21Laps|
|-||35||asset techno Z34||K.Koizumi/K.Shimogaki/H.Yasuda||164Laps|