Rd.8 Twin Ring Motegi 27 - 28 October
In Round 7 at Autopolis, the #1 GT-R steadily rose through the ranks after having qualified in tenth spot, snatching a major come-from-behind victory on the final lap. As a result, they secured their second consecutive championship title. This brilliant achievement of the same driver duo winning back-to-back championships is a first in Japan's GT racing history. It is also thanks to the faithful support of all of the NISSAN GT-R fans. See how much your magnificent support must have encouraged them! You have my warmest thanks.
I think the race that played a key role in the #1 machine winning the championship was Round 4 at SUGO. In the season's first three events there had been mistakes and problems, and we didn't produce the results we'd expected. To be honest, I think the team members had, to an extent, lost their way. However, at SUGO, they gave us an excellent race. Ronnie Quintarelli, the starting driver, put in a superb performance, staying close behind and almost overtaking car #6 (SC430) for the lead, In order to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on him, we entrusted the second half to Masataka Yanagida. Yanagida rose to the occasion and was able to take the third step on the podium. With that third-place result, they were encouraged to win the following race at Suzuka. That's how the pattern that led to the championship win evolved. Throughout this, Yanagida has matured, culminating in his absolutely amazing drive in the latest round.
Despite the fact that the GT-R has secured the championship two years in a row, last season we won 5 races, whereas this year the car has taken only three victories. What's more, both the #23 and #24 machines have yet to win a race this season. This is why we expect those two cars to give everything they've got in an effort to bring their seasons to a successful conclusion. We also still have a good chance of bringing the #12 car to second place in the title fight. For the final round, most of the cars will be running without any weight handicap, so we'll be deploying all of the fundamental capabilities of our cars in that battle. We might lack the tension that comes with the deciding of a champion, but as the manufacturer that won the championship this year, the NISSAN camp is determined to give its fans a race consistent with that title.
Naturally, we're always looking ahead while we're racing, and as we'll have some leeway in this race, we might include some testing in our preparations for next year. Since at the moment SUPER GT doesn't have many testing opportunities, I think that a test run in an actual race scenario would provide us with a huge amount of valuable data.
In the GT300 class, the #3 GT-R ran an extremely good race at Autopolis. The drivers were therefore massively disappointed when they encountered component failure after having almost won. Even though the result means that the car had to drop out of the title fight and that because of the rules it will continue running with 48kgs' weight handicap, we can expect them to give everything they've got as they go for the win. That would certainly wipe away the despair of the non-finish from the last round.