Team principal Comment

Rd.4 Sportsland SUGO 28 - 29 July


Trouble resolved, aiming for the win at SUGO this summer

Three races have taken place since the start of the season but the NISSAN GT-R has yet to record a single win and fans are probably hoping for a victory soon. Although it set a quick pace at the opening race at Okayama and again in the second race at Fuji, unfortunately the results were wrecked by the weather. At the third round at Sepang, expectations ran high as it was a racing circuit that which the GT-R has always excelled. Confidence was high after recording good results during the off-season testing held there, but the race was lost due to unexpected trouble with the KONDO RACING and MOLA entries. While points were gained as NISMO and TEAM IMPUL managed to finish the race, the teams could not fully exploit the performance of their cars.

After returning from Sepang, the reason behind the GT-Rs lackluster performance was found to be due to a loss in engine output. This year, the GT300 machines are showing increased performance after FIA GT3 rules were adopted into the GT300 car rules. For safety reasons, the GT500 restrictor diameter was also raised up two ranks, resulting in improved engine performance. The development team should have dealt with this issue sufficiently but it seems that the anti-heat measures adopted were not entirely perfect. Currently, manufacturers are undertaking the bare minimum development required due to reduced testing in SUPER GT. The design calculations for the anti-heat measures did not indicate any problem but heat was ascertained as the issue after running under the searing heat at Sepang. Furthermore, as the car was chasing the pack at Sepang, intake of fresh air from the front was insufficient.

The development team has implemented counter-measures for SUGO this time round, and this includes aerodynamic developments on the cars as well. The success of these developments was scheduled to be verified during the joint test held at Suzuka Circuit from July 20 to 21. Although it was unfortunate that the tests did not go very well due to the wet conditions, overall the performance still felt satisfactory. Despite the rainy conditions, the MOLA team recorded the top time at every session, while the relatively lighter TEAM IMPUL entry also managed to top the timesheets.

Nissan's GT500 machines had never done well or won at Sportsland SUGO in the past. However, this jinx was broken by NISMO's victory in 2009. In 2010, NISMO was about to run away with the victory yet again when a chunk of rubber from one of the tyres on the car running in front was flung behind, resulting in the nightmare scenario of the kill switch being turned off. Last year, MOLA took its first victory at SUGO and continued to maintain its form till the final race, clinching the championship title as a result. While it may come down to the work of the devil, expectations are that it's high time for a GT-R victory at SUGO.

With MOLA in the lead, running on Michelin tyres that are well-suited to the heat and wet conditions; and with the NISMO, IMPUL and KONDO RACING entries all fighting for victories, this should be an interesting season to watch.

As for the GT300-class NDDP GT-R entry, test results at Suzuka were fantastic and with the heat problem that occurred at Sepang resolved, I believe it will end up with a first podium finish at SUGO.