Rd.4 Sportsland SUGO 27 - 28 Jul

Conquer the demons and compete favorably in the middle of the season

“Sportland SUGO is a place long considered inhabited by evil spirits, and many unexpected incidents have occurred at races there over the years. The GT500-class Nissan entries once had difficulty winning at SUGO, but in 2009, the NISMO AUTECH MOTUL GT-R broke the jinx by taking a resounding victory at the hilly circuit. However, in 2010, an almost inconceivable incident took place, robbing the MOTUL AUTECH GT-R of certain victory when a tire ‘marble’ (rubber that gets discarded from the tire during normal racing use) got thrown up by the car ahead, making direct contact with the GT-R's kill switch and bringing the then-leading machine to a halt. In 2011, the MOLA team, which had graduated from GT300 to GT500 in that season, took its first class victory at SUGO, but last year, it was run into by fellow GT-R just after the start, causing both machines to retire immediately. However, if we move in sequence, this is the year to aim for the win, without getting distracted by the evil spirits. I hope to conquer the demons this year in order to continue our success in succeeding years.

“Although in the past, it was frustrating to see Nissan cars unable to show their true power from the qualifying session onwards at SUGO, the current Nissan GT-R has good chemistry, and this is an important event in the middle of the season, representing a good opportunity in which to gain momentum and resume the offensive. The #23 Nismo machine has not been able to produce a good track record due in part to a conservative strategy working against it, but it was at last year's SUGO round that the 2-year successive driver's champions were able to really start aiming for the title. Since the next round, the 1,000km event at Suzuka, is an important race with bonus points, we hope that we can continue to show good results, and the advantage is that the drivers are aware of how to compete in the series, using valuable knowledge gained from their experiences there last year.

“The #12 machine from TEAM IMPUL took its first victory of the season in the last round at Sepang, surging to second place in the series' rankings. Also, the car's pair of very fast drivers is iconic in the Japanese racing world, so it is a matter of course that they will be in the running for the title hunt. At SUGO, it is likely that their focus next weekend will be on scoring a reliable points-haul. It seems about time to expect results from the matching of the #24 KONDO RACING machine and its ADVAN tires. They have an established reputation for high performance in the heat, and their speed under wet track conditions is never in doubt. We would like to see them score some strong results during the summer. The #1 MOLA machine finished sixth in Sepang, despite having a collision. The driver combination of Motoyama and Sekiguchi feels like it has finally started to gel. SUGO is a circuit that takes a toll on tires, but the Michelin rubber is well suited to the conditions there. Both the #1 and #23 cars are equipped with Michelin tires, so it is safe to expect results from them in this upcoming race.

“In the GT300 class, the JAF GT cars had the diameter of their air restrictors increased by three ranks prior to the season-opener. However, performance adjustments have been made ahead of SUGO, decreasing the diameter by 1.5 ranks. This alone presents a genuine opportunity for the FIA GT3-spec. NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3 to show off its true capabilities. We can expect them to be aiming for the victory stand in this race. We hope that the #3 NDDP entry has its sights set on the center step of the podium. Also, multiple GT300-class champions apr will be taking charge of maintenance for the #30 GT-R from this race onwards. Based on their achievement so far and the enormous amount of data they possess, we are very much looking forward to seeing how the race unfolds and to how much of an improvement in performance we see.”