April 17, 2014
The second round of the SUPER GT 2014, the FUJI GT 500km RACE, will be held over two days between May 3 and 4 at Fuji Speedway located to the East of Shizuoka Prefecture. Although the series opener was held at Okayama International Circuit three weeks ago, the second round held at Fuji Speedway, being the first race held in Eastern Japan, acts as a kind of second opening round which the fans eagerly await. At the same time, with the holding of a big race at Fuji now a regular fixture, it has become somewhat of a Golden Week seasonal tradition.
|2014 SUPER GT Rd.1 Okayama GT 300km Race|
The biggest topic of discussion for this SUPER GT season is the changes to the technical regulations for the GT500 class. The Nissan teams are now competing with NISMO's newly developed NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT500 and in the opening round they swiftly displayed the high potential of the vehicle by qualifying 2nd and 3d and then taking 3rd place on the podium. The team line up this year, as with last year, consists of the #23 NISMO MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda / Ronnie Quintarelli) at the head, followed by the #12 IMPUL Calsonic IMPUL GT-R (Hironobu Yasuda / Joao Paolo de Oliveira), the #24 KONDO RACING D'station ADVAN GT-R (Michael Krumm / Daiki Sasaki), and the #46 MOLA S Road MOLA GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama / Masataka Yanagida). As for the tires, the #46 and 23 are riding on Michelins, the #12 is sporting Bridgestone and the #24 will be wearing Yokohama treads.
Although no pre-race official tests were carried out at Fuji Speedway, joint tests were held in late March just before the opening round and all 3 manufacturers advanced the development of their new machines. Although the new regulations are basically in line with those implemented in the popular DTM series, the engines to be used are Japan's unique 2 liter inline four cylinder direct injection turbo engines. On the other hand, the chassis and body are the same as DTM and compared to previous years development has been greatly restricted. However, for the ultra high speed track of Fuji Speedway, the additional mounting of special aerodynamic devices has been permitted and it goes without saying that NISMO has been absorbed in development of these parts. The fans are greatly looking forward to see how the cars will differ to the “standard” specs used in the opening round.
Although the Nissan cars appeared to be one step behind Lexus at the season opener, preparations for a counterattack are in full swing. Of course the Lexus side is also aware of this. Furthermore the Honda teams which have been struggling up until now, are sharpening their fangs to go all out and join the fight for top place. Although Lexus has traditionally made the ultra high speed power track of Fuji Speedway it's home course and has tended to dominate the races here, with the redesigning of the vehicles there are signs of a transformation in the competitive landscape. Although all models in the GT500 class displayed speeds that rewrote the records so far at the opening round, anticipation is growing for seeing just how much times will improve at Fuji's high speed track.
On the other hand, regarding the NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3s, which have become the majority in the GT300 class, the #3 B-MAX NDDP GT-R has paired Kazuki Hoshino with Lucas Ordóñez to be its drivers for this season. A further five other cars are participating as private entries. A lot of attention is also focused on the top team, TAISAN, which has been crowned champion more than once in the past, converting to the GT-R NISMO GT3 for this season. There are great expectations that the competition between GT-Rs is set to intensify. Please don't miss out on watching the GT-Rs perform in the GT300 class.