April 6, 2014
Okayama International Circuit, Okayama-pref. (April 6, 2014) - At the opening round of the SUPER GT, held over two days between April 5th and 6th at the Okayama International Circuit in Mimasaka, Okayama Prefecture, the #12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R (Hironobu Yasuda / Joao Paolo de Oliveira) took third place in the GT500 class. Meanwhile, the #3 B-MAX NDDP GT-R (Kazuki Hoshino / Lucas Ordóñez) finished fourth in the GT300.
#12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R
#3 B-MAX NDDP GT-R
The 81 lap race was begun at 2:00pm under unseasonably chilly weather conditions. Being the first race to take place under the new technical regulations for the GT500 class, all 15 competing vehicles, including the four Nissans, were completely brand new cars. All 18,000 spectators who gathered to witness the opening of the new season were treated to the spectacle of seeing the combined thirty nine GT500 and GT300 machines go full throttle at the same time. All cars from each class managed to pass the exit of the first corner without incident. However, in the opening lap at revolver corner, the #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (6th in qualifying, Tugio Matsuda / Ronnie Quintarelli) made contact with another vehicle which left it stopped in the middle of the track and on the verge of becoming entangled with a group of oncoming GT300 vehicles. Although Matsuda managed to rotate his vehicle at the last minute to avoid them, it meant that the #23 GT-R would be starting far behind the pack. Meanwhile, the #46 S Road MOLA GT-R (3rd in qualifying, Satoshi Motoyama / Masataka Yanagida) also made contact with the #12 GT-R (2nd in qualifying). Although the #12 GT-R was pushed out into the run-off area, both cars were able to continue the race without causing any significant damage to the other. Oliveira, who managed to get away from this contact unscathed in the #12 GT-R, temporarily dropped to 4th place. However, the pace of the #46 GT-R became unstable after it began raining and Oliveira was able to overtake it to return to 3rd place and maintain this position until his driver change with Yasuda in the 39th lap. After returning to the track, Yasuda ran the remaining laps at a stable pace and, while fending off the competition which was beginning to creep up in the second half, crossed the finish line in third place.
The Matsuda driven #23 GT-R, returned to the race after the aforementioned accident and chased down the competition from the rear at a furious clip, managing to recover 10th place by lap 34. Next, Quintarelli took the wheel and drove gallantly to climb further up the ranks. By lap 45 he was in 8th place, then by lap 63 he had managed to overtake the next car to take 7th, ultimately finishing within the points group.
On the other hand, the #46 GT-R that had been forced to reduce its pace due to the rain, made a pit stop in order to change to rain tires. Unfortunately, immediately after this, the sky began to clear and you could see the road surface drying with every passing second. As a result, he was forced to return to the pits in order to change back to slicks and this caused him a serious time loss. This left him running in the rear at 13th place by the middle stage of the race. Yanagida, having taken the the wheel for the second half, managed to make some gains and finish 10th.
The #24 D'station ADVAN GT-R (Michael Krumm / Daiki Sasaki), having qualified 10th, was still running in 10th during the first half but, following the driver change, failed to increase its pace and ultimately finished in 12th.
The #3 GT-R began the GT300 class in 6th position with Hoshino in the driver's seat. Managing to avoid any issue with situations such as the turmoil that occurred at the start of the race and the unpredictable weather, Hoshino maintained his position and managed to climb to 4th place by the 40th lap. Ordóñez then took over for the second half and after repeatedly slashing his own best times, took the car home in 4th place. Team principal Masahiro Hasemi said with narrowed eyes, “With our two drivers giving a great performance, our team has been able to finish the race showing our current best.”
Comment from team principal of NISMO, Yutaka Suzuki
“Today's result is disappointing and frustrating when I think that we could have made the podium had that accident not occurred. However, the next round is at Fuji where we made some good runs in the tests so we will be aiming for a win.”
Comment from #12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R driver, Hironobu Yasuda
“Although JP (Oliveira) carried out a sensational drive in the first half, once I took over the car in the second half the margin began to widen. Though I chose different tires to the cars in front, in the second half I began to gradually get left behind. However, being able to stand on the third step of the podium at the opening round is a result that clearly demonstrates our capability.”
Comment from #12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R driver, Joao Paolo de Oliveira
“I think that 3rd place is a good result for the first race of the season. After the weather changed it became a really difficult race. When it started to rain we considered entering the pits, but the decision not to was a correct one. I've rediscovered just how fast this car is. Also, I'm very grateful to all the fans that came out to support us on such a cold day. I hope that I can achieve a similar result at Fuji.”
|Pos||No.||Machine||Driver||Time / Behind|
|1||37||KeePer TOM'S RC F||Daisuke Ito / Andrea Caldarelli||1:57'15.816|
|2||6||ENEOS SUSTINA RC F||Kazuya Oshima / Yuji Kunimoto||5.026|
|3||12||CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R||Hironobu Yasuda / J.P.De Oliveira||18.818|
|4||39||DENSO KOBELCO SARD RC F||Hiroaki Ishiura / Oliver Jarvis||21.475|
|5||18||Weider Modulo NSX CONCEPT-GT||Naoki Yamamoto / Jean Karl Vernay||23.259|
|6||17||KEIHIN NSX CONCEPT-GT||Koudai Tsukakoshi / Toshihiro Kaneishi||31.039|
|7||23||MOTUL AUTECH GT-R||Tsugio Matsuda / Ronnie Quintarelli||31.367|
|8||8||ARTA NSX CONCEPT-GT||Vitantonio Liuzzi / Kosuke Matsuura||1'07.608|
|9||100||RAYBRIG NSX CONCEPT-GT||Takashi Kogure / Hideki Mutoh||1Lap|
|10||46||S Road MOLA GT-R||Satoshi Motoyama / Masataka Yanagida||1Lap|
|12||24||D'station ADVAN GT-R||Michael Krumm / Daiki Sasaki||1Lap|
|Pos||No.||Machine||Driver||Time / Behind|
|1||4||GOODSMILE HATSUNEMIKU Z4||Nobuteru Taniguchi / Tatsuya Kataoka||1:58'28.101|
|2||7||Studie BMW Z4||Jorg Muller / Seiji Ara||0.329|
|3||11||GAINER DIXCEL SLS||Katsuyuki Hiranaka / Bjorn Wirdheim||1Lap|
|4||3||B-MAX NDDP GT-R||Kazuki Hoshino / Lucas Ordóñez||1Lap|
|15||5||MACH SYAKEN with Transformers 30th||Tetsuji Tamanaka / Junichiro Yamashita||3Laps|
|16||360||OKINAWA IMP-RUN UP GT-R||Atsushi Tanaka / Hiroki Yoshida||3Laps|
|18||48||Snap-on DIJON Racing GT-R||Hiroshi Takamori / Masaki Tanaka||3Laps|
|19||67||STP TAISAN GAIA POWER GT-R||Naoki Yokomizo / Shogo Mitsuyama||6Laps|
|30||IWASAKI apr GT-R||Yuki Iwasaki / Masami Kageyama||75Laps|