September 25, 2013


2013 SUPER GT Round 7 Preview

Round 7 of SUPER GT, the "SUPER GT in Kyushu 300km" takes place on October 5 and 6 at Autopolis, located in Hita, Oita prefecture, on the border with Kumamoto prefecture.

2012 SUPER GT in KYUSHU 300km Traditionally held as autumn settles in and playing an important role in the outcome of the championship, Autopolis typically hosts the season's penultimate round. This season too, it is expected that the teams will consider this the 'most important' race of the year and an intense battle among the teams is expected as they vie to build an advantage over their rivals before the final race of the year.

Autopolis, situated in the foothills of Mt. Aso, with its European-style layout and steep elevation changes at 52m - the greatest of any course on the SUPER GT calendar, is one of the tracks favored by the NISSAN GT-R, where the car will be able to amply demonstrate its almighty straight-line speed and prowess under braking. In the off-season between 2011 and 2012, major renovations were made to the track surface, though with successive victories in 2011 and '12, before and after the improvements were made, the NISSAN GT-R has proven its mettle and its affinity for the challenging track.

There hasn't been any pre-event testing at Autopolis, but in late August, there were combined tire tests in which the #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R, the #12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R, and the #24 D'station ADVAN GT-R participated. On the first day, they were in good form, with the #24 GT-R posting the top time, and the #12 car taking third. Incidentally, although the #1 MOLA GT-R did not participate, sharing data with the #23 GT-R, which uses the same Michelin tires, should be sufficient for set up.

In the previous round at Fuji Speedway, the cars were saddled with handicap weights of 2 kg per point earned, so high ranking machines like the #23 GT-R (84 kg at Fuji) and the #12 machine (82 kg) were forced into an uphill battle. From this round, those handicap weights will be reduced by half to 1kg per point. Even including the points earned at Fuji, the cars will be lighter at 46 kg for the #12 GT-R and 44 kg for the #23 machine. Will the #23 and #12 be able to regain their true performance with this reduction in success ballast? And will the #1 and #24 cars, which have yet to get results despite showing respectable speed, be able to make a comeback? Expectations are high for the performance of the four GT-R machines at this upcoming round.

Their rivals are also carrying less weight, and they seem eager to end the final season under the current vehicle regulations with a win. The Honda HSVs, which have performed well here - as have the GT-Rs, must be taken into account, and the #39 Lexus SC430, which won previously at Fuji, also needs to be kept an eye on.

As for the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3s competing in the GT300 class, with their indomitable character, they are favored at Autopolis just as their more senior members running to GT500 specifications are. They have not gotten good results so far, but heading into the season's endgame, expectations are high for the four GT-R GT3 machines to make a comeback, with the #3 S Road NDDP GT-R at the forefront.

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