July 30, 2014
Round 5 of the 2014 SUPER GT series will be held over August 9th-10th at Fuji Speedway in Oyama, Shizuoka Prefecture. In recent years it has been customary to hold this race in early September, immediately after the end of summer vacation. However, it used to also be common to hold a race around this time, close to the lunar Bon Festival and calls for a high-speed battle in the intense heat were increasing in fervor. Fuji Speedway is one of the best high-speed courses in the world. Although there was a large upgrade carried out on the course in 2003, which saw the addition of a technical section, the close to 1.5km home straight was left intact. One of the best parts of Fuji is to watch these vehicles duke it out at top speeds of close to 300km/h. The GT500 machines that have been redesigned this season not only use common aerodynamic specs across the board, they have also prepared low drag/less down force specs specifically for Fuji.
|2014 SUPER GT Round2 - FUJI GT 500km Race|
Representing Nissan are 4 cars of 4 teams beginning with NISMO's #23 “MOTUL AUTECH GT-R” (Tsugio Matsuda / Ronnie Quintarelli) which moved up to 5th in the ranks after taking its first victory in round 3 at Autopolis. This is followed by IMPUL's #12 “Calsonic IMPUL GT-R” (Hironobu Yasuda / Joao Paolo de Oliveira) that is currently ranked 2nd and took victory in round 2 in Autopolis, KONDO RACING's #24 “D'station ADVAN GT-R” (Michael Krumm / Daiki Sasaki), and MOLA's #46 “S Road MOLA GT-R” (Satoshi Motoyama / Masataka Yanagida). As to their tires, the #23 and #46 are sporting Michelins, the #12 is riding on Bridgestones, and the #24 is equipped with Yokohamas.
The cars have been laden with weight, but those handicap weights are a part of what makes the SUPER GT so exciting to watch. Although until the middle of the season, as with last season, competing vehicles were assigned 2kg per every series point earned, this year a new regulation was introduced stating that, should the weight exceed 50kg, the car will be assigned a 50kg equivalent fuel restrictor (a device that restricts the flow of fuel) to limit the power. Both the 5th ranking #23 and 2nd place ranking #12 have been assigned fuel restrictors along with 4kg and 38kg of handicap weight respectively. The #24 and #46 will be heading into the next race with 18kg and 40kg respectively.
After the low drag spec aerodynamic parts that were prepared in concert for each vehicle were used at the 2nd round in Fuji, it was hastily decided that they would also be used in the 3rd round in Autopolis and round 4 in Sportsland SUGO. Due to this a more than adequate amount of set-up data has been accumulated. This will be the last race for this year's model Fuji specs. The determination of rival teams is definitely becoming stronger. In addition to Lexus, who consider Fuji their home course, there is Honda, who have also improved their performance due to an easing of regulations. Still, the NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT500 showed overwhelming speed at Fuji in May and there are great expectations for a repeat performance of this.
There are also great expectations for the GT-R in the GT300 class. As the only domestically made FIA-GT3 machine, the NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3 occupies the majority of competing vehicles. At the Super Taikyu race held at Fuji the other day, Kazuki Hoshino, who drives the #3 “B-MAX NDDP GT-R” (along with inaugural winner of the NISSAN GT Academy, Lucas Ordonez) drove the NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3 and set a stunning new course record in qualification. Although the fine details of the specs may have been different, he achieved this on the same Yokohama tires and it can be said that this result comes down to his efforts in the SUPER GT. There are great hopes for a double victory for the NISSAN GT-R in both classes this round.