Team principal Comment

Rd.2 Fuji Speedway 3 - 4 May


Confidence in the speed of the GT-R is completely unshaken

At the opening event in Okayama, the NISSAN GT-R missed a spot on the victory stand with a highest place finish of fourth. This was due to tyre choice. The specifications of the tyres to be used in a race are decided two weeks prior to the event itself, and the estimates of track surface temperatures was based on analyses of data from the past five years. The GT-Rs were quick in testing, so they saw no need to gamble, and thus adopted a simple strategy. However, due to the unseasonablly low temperatures, where the track surface was 10 degrees Celsius cooler than they expected, it was extremely difficult to maintain their true performance. Even so, they put up a good fight, with Satoshi Motoyama momentarily snatching away the lead before handing over to Michael Krumm. It was a race Krumm could have probably won with proper tyre management. However, he has been using Michelin tyres throughout his three years as an FIA GT1 driver. It was his first time running on Bridgestone rubber in three years, his first time at Okayama in three years, and the track conditions weren't optimal either. However, when he gets his feel for SUPER GT back, he should have no problems. His high level of adaptability was amply demosntrated when he took fifth place in qualifying (Q2) - and this despite not having first or second gear at the time.

The GT-R also performed well in pre-season testing at Okayama, so it may have strengthened the drivers' desire to push ahead. There was also a crash by the #12 car in qualifying, and a collision for the #1 car in the race. The coaches and I feel responsible for this; we have reflected on and analyzed the race results, and the coaches and drivers feel that we will be able to adapt in the future.

Our confidence in the GT-R's speed is completely unshaken. Both our top speed and cornering speeds are a match for our rivals. Sector 3, the final section of Fuji Speedway with its consecutive medium speed corners is no problem either. At Okayama, cars #12 and #23, both of which were fitted with Bridgestone tyres, also showed their speed among the GT-R entries. However, Fuji is a track that is well-suited to the Michelin rubber. In addition, it has warmed up since the opening round, so we think we'll be able to make a good showing of our performance. Even the #24 car misread the weather for the opening event, but since it's fast on the straights and the tyre performance has been significantly improved, we have high expectations.

Although there is still the possibility that the prediction of track surface conditions at Fuji will be off, there is no problem with the speed of the GT-R. Also, with eight races in the season, there will be plenty of chances to rally back. One thing to look forward to is the 500km distance of this round. Unlike the regular 300km race distance, two pit stops will be required. This, plus the fact that we have put together a team with superior tactical ability - able to deal with any situation that may arise, gives us confidence. Being a long distance race in which comprehensive team power is easier to demonstratey, you should anticipate good results.

There's also one other car, the number 3 machine in the GT300 class. At Okayama, it was a terrible waste when, due to contact with the number 1 GT500-class car, the debuting machine went off track. Okayama is an extremely difficult circuit, and is especially hard on rookie drivers. However, due to the experience gained from racing such a venue, I think they will be fine from here on in. In qualifying, the car even made it into Q3 - reaching as high as 3rd place at one point, raising the expectations of the fans. Compared to Okayama, Fuji is a track that's ten times easier to drive. They will almost certainly live up to expectations.