The final race of the SUPER GT season (Round 8) was held at Twin Ring Motegi in Tochigi prefecture on October 27 and 28. In the 250km event, NISSAN had four GT-Rs in the GT500 class, while the GT300 category was represented by one car. Nearly all entrants ran without any handicap weight.
For this race, qualifying was run to a knock-out style format, held in clear skies and temperatures of 20 Celsius. The #24 D'station ADVAN GT-R (Hironobu Yasuda/Bjorn Wirdheim), with Yasuda at the wheel, had to pit in the Q1 session due to trouble wit the car's drive system, ending the team's hopes of a qualifying result higher than 15th on the grid.
Joao Paolo de Oliveria took charge in the #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/de Oliveira), netting 10th in Q1. Matsuda was behind the wheel for Q2, just missing out on a top-seven spot (required to Q3) with eighth. Their grid position was thus decided.
In the #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama/Michael Krumm) Motoyama held the reins in Q1, taking sixth. Krumm then took over for Q2, equaling the result with another 6th place. Motoyama drove in Q3, netting the third best time and a 2nd-row starting position in the race.
Reigning and defending champions the #1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R (Masataka Yanagida/Ronnie Quintarelli) were 5th in Q1 thanks to Quintarelli. Teammate Yanagida then took 4th in Q2, before Ronnie was back in the car for Q3, where he ended up 7th.
In the GT300 class, NDDP RACING's #3 S ROAD NDDP GT-R (Yuhi Sekiguchi/Katsumasa Chiyo) were carrying 48kgs' success ballast, in accordance with Regulations. Despite this, Sekiguchi came through Q1 with fifth place. In Q1, Chiyo took 6th, before Sekiguchi equaled the result in Q3 with another sixth place. Although the title was out of their grasp, there was still the chance of improving on their championship position.
The weather on the 28th steadily worsened. In the morning's Pit Walk, a “Graded Driver” ceremony, commemorating those who have contested 100 GT rounds was held, with souvenirs and a bouquet presentation, followed by a driver's parade round the circuit in open-top cars. Three NISSAN drivers were inducted into the scheme this year; Krumm, Matsuda and Yanagida.
The 53-lap race started under the guidance of the Safety Car (SC), as rain fell in the wet 14-degree conditions. After two laps, the SC departed and battle was allowed to commence. Starting drivers were Quintarelli in the #1 GT-R, Matsuda in the #12 car, Krumm in the #23 machine and Wirdheim in the #24 GT-R. Sekiguchi started the GT300-class #3 machine.
In GT300, the #3 GT-R stuck with the top group, fighting with the #33 Porsche and #66 Aston Martin, both of which were battling for title glory. A pit stop on lap 28 saw Chiyo climb aboard for the second half. He ran fifth early on, before finishing sixth. Chiyo ended up 4th in the driver's standings, while Sekiguchi, who missed one round, was classified 6th.
The #24 GT-R drove a steady race from its tail-end start, pitting early without changing tyres and rising as high at 6th while other cars made their stops. Yasuda drove the second stint, and ran in 10th, within sight of a championship point, but fell to 11th before the flag.
The #12 GT-R, with Matsuda at the wheel, rose to fifth before going off track on lap 13, when he fell to the back of the pack. De Oliveira took over fro the second stint, running 10th all the way to the chequered flag. The team ended the season 4th in the standings.
The #23 GT-R was overtaken early on by cars with tyres suited to the wet conditions, dropping it to fifth place. Although Motoyama took over after just 20 laps, an increase in pace was not found and the machine finished in 6th. Among the Bridgestone users, the car was 2nd.
Tyre matching on the #1 GT-R was perfect for the conditions. That, and the confusion of other cars saw the GT-R rise to 3rd by lap 6, advancing to 2nd place on lap 10, and within sight of the leading #38 SC430. Yanagida closed the gap further by opting to not change tyres, but couldn't find a way past and had to settle for 2nd, just 0.138 seconds behind the winners.
Yanagida and Quintarelli, already confirmed as 2012 Driver's champions at the previous round, stood on the winners' podium for the fifth time in a row (since Round 4), and demonstrated once again their abilities to get top results, as only double champions can do.
After an awards ceremony and press conference, officials and members of the media assembled in the pit for commemorative photos. It is the first time in Japanese GT history that the same driver pairing has won back-to-back Driver's titles.