November 3, 2013
Twin Ring Motegi, Tochigi -pref. (November 3, 2013) - The final race of the SUPER GT season took place at Twin Ring Motegi (Motegi town, Tochigi prefecture) on Sunday, November 3rd. Starting third after qualifying, the #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Masataka Yanagida/Ronnie Quintarelli) came eighth in the race. They finished sixth in the series' standings.
GT500 - #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R
GT500 - #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R
As the lights went out signaling the start of the 53-lap event, the ambient temperature was warm for early November at 18 degrees. In attendance to witness the climax of an already thrilling season, a huge number of fans gathered at Motegi for the final round. The #23 GT-R came into the season-ender fifth in the points' standings, with a realistic chance at the title. Adding to the excitement, all cars ran with zero handicap weight (success ballast) at this 250km race, the shortest on the calendar, and some 50kms less than the regular race distance of 300kms.
In official qualifying, held on Saturday afternoon, the #23 GT-R narrowly missed out on pole position, finishing the session in fourth place and good for a second-row slot on the starting grid. No matter how hard he tried however, opening-stint driver Quintarelli couldn't increase his pace in the early stages and make inroads on the leaders. Yanagida too, was unable to make headway during his time in the car, and was forced to let a few rivals past. Contact with other cars twice during the race didn't dampen his resolve and he continued to push without losing significant amounts of time on either occasion - or breaking the car. With another machine further up the order dropping out near the end of the race, the #23 GT-R finished eighth.
NISMO Team Director Yutaka Suzuki's comment:
“We gave 100% in this race, but our outright pace was not the match of our rivals. We were able to get to the finish, and thinking ahead to next season, everything now starts afresh. We want to reflect on this season and make use of what we learn for next year. I'd like to thank all our fans for their unflinching support all season long.”
Also in with a shot at the title, the #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/Joao Paolo de Oliveira) saw Matsuda take the wheel for the start, the car having qualified eighth. After waiting for the perfect moment, he passed two machines at once on lap seven to move into fifth. Oliveira then made use of this advantage, protecting their ranking in the driver change, with plans to carry on in that position to the end. However, on lap 48, just five tours from the flag, Oliveira spun and lost a lot of time making an unscheduled stop for fresh tires. The goal of finishing higher up the order couldn't be realized, and the car ended the race in 13th place.
Having qualified ninth, Motoyama took the start in the #1 REITO MOLA GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama/Yuhi Sekiguchi), driving steadily until handing the car over to Sekiguchi for the second half. Sekiguchi moved up one position from twelfth to eleventh, but contact with another car meant an off-track excursion and damage to his machine. Although he got back on the circuit, it became impossible to continue and he stopped on track, his race ending there.
Meanwhile, the #24 D'station ADVAN GT-R (Hironobu Yasuda/Michael Krumm), which had started 11th, completed the race in ninth place.
In the GT300 class, the #3 S Road NDDP GT-R (Kazuki Hoshino/ Daiki Sasaki) qualified fourth and had Hoshino at the controls for the first half. However, a time loss steadily increased from the opening stages, and the team tried to remedy the situation by choosing a different tire for the second half. This however was deemed an ineffective solution, and Sasaki had to endure a painful loss of position on his way to an eventual ninth-place finish.
NDDP Team Director Masahiro Hasemi's comment:
“Although the drivers ran hard, it was a severe race taking into consideration the problems with the car. I think Hoshino has grown significantly since the last time he was in my team, and although Sasaki is a GT rookie, he immediately understood the difference between these and formula cars, with which he has so far been familiar. Our level of hope has changed from what it was at the opening round. I think the pair of them has done a remarkable job all year.”
General Director of Nissan Teams Kunihiko Kakimoto's comment:
“Today's race turned into one which produced the worst possible outcome; though the car, engine, tires and team organization all worked brilliantly. Unfortunately, it's the weak link that showed itself today. Until Autopolis, we had been leading the points' battle, but it's as if we've been making ends meet since then. I'm filled with regret at the thought. We will re-focus in order not to forget this feeling. Over the last three years, the GT-R has been champion for two. However, NISMO has failed to win the championship. The current situation must be accepted with humility and we must reorganize - including the organization itself. Because we believe our mission has lived up to the expectations of our fans, we are further encouraged to battle strongly at each and every race. We have already started to take action for next year, and want to thank all our fans for their continued support this season, which we hope will continue as robustly in 2014.”
|Pos||No||Machine||Driver||Time / Behind|
|1||6||ENEOS SUSTINA SC430||Kazuya Oshima
|2||17||KEIHIN HSV-010||Koudai Tsukakoshi
|3||38||nowrap class="center"ZENT CERUMO SC430||Yuji Tachikawa
|4||39||DENSO KOBELCO SC430||Juichi Wakisaka
|5||36||PETRONAS TOM'S SC430||Kazuki Nakajima
|6||37||KeePer TOM'S SC430||Daisuke Ito
|7||18||Weider Modulo HSV-010||Naoki Yamamoto
|8||23||MOTUL AUTECH GT-R||Masataka Yanagida
|9||24||D'station ADVAN GT-R||Hironobu Yasuda
|10||19||WedsSport ADVAN SC430||Seiji Ara
|13||12||CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R||Tsugio Matsuda
Joao Paulo Lima De Oliveira
|14||1||REITO MOLA GT-R||Satoshi Motoyama
|Pos||No||Machine||Driver||Time / Behind|
|1||11||GAINER DIXCEL SLS||Katsuyuki Hiranaka
|2||16||MUGEN CR-Z GT||Hideki Mutoh
|3||61||SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT||Tetsuya Yamano
|9||3||S Road NDDP GT-R||Kazuki Hoshino
|14||30||IWASAKI OGT Racing GT-R||Yuki Iwasaki
|18||48||DIJON Racing IS GT-R||Hiroshi Takamori
|22||5||MACH GoGoGo SYAKEN GT-R||Tetsuji Tamanaka