Rd.7 Autoplis 5 - 6 Oct
“In the upcoming event at Autopolis, handicap weights will be cut in half. The first six races of the season used a 2kgs-per-point-earned weight handicap system, but from this round, that has been reduced to 1 kg-per-point-earned. This means that the top-ranked teams, which had hitherto been carrying a considerable amount of success ballast, will now be lightened dramatically. Since the weight of the cars will be closer together, more closely-fought and indeed intense battles should develop.
“Autopolis is located at a high elevation on the outer rim of the Mt. Aso crater, with many up- and downhill sections. In particular, the final part of the lap is a technical uphill section, and whether or not a driver is capable of running through it smoothly is key to setting a competitive lap time. This track is favorable for the Nissan entries as it matches the car's characteristics well, proven by the fact that GT-Rs have won there three times in the last five years, including back-to-back victories last year and the year before. Since the fight for the championship likely will not be decided until the final race of the season, we hope that we can earn a lot of points at this track and head into the final round in a comfortable position. The NISSAN GT-R has earned only a single win so far this year, and we hope we can take the car's second victory of the season at Autopolis. With so much success ballast on the cars up to now, the GT-Rs have been unable to demonstrate their full performance. However, at this round the cars will be lighter and we are hoping for strong results.
“In the Nissan camp, the team with the best chance at victory this time out is probably the #1 GT-R, which held the top spot at Fuji Speedway, but fell short of the win. The car's weight handicap (WH) sits at 20kg, and the two drivers must be hungry for victory. Of course, the high-ranked #12 GT-R (WH 46kg) and the #23 GT-R (WH 44kg) will also be aiming to dominate. The #12 GT-R has persevered through the important summer races and posted results that exceeded their performance in qualifying. Also, the #23 GT-R won this race last year, clinching the championship title in the process. If the two teams compete to their full potential, we expect that they will naturally get results.
“In the tire test held in August, the #24 GT-R (WH 7kg) took the overall top time on the first day. The temperature and weather conditions will have changed since the test, but we have heard that the team is confident, so we hope they will show us their best performance of the season.
&The only concern is the weather during race week. Autopolis has been favored with fine weather heading into the fall, but forecasts have been put out saying that things will be going to turn worse in early October. However, over the last two years, we have gotten results despite being afflicted by unstable weather. We want the GT-R to show its strength again this year.
“In the GT300 class, the #3 GT-R was the top performer in the class last year. The drivers are different, but we want to see Sasaki vent the frustration built up at the Super Taikyu event at Suzuka, and Hoshino has returned to Japan after bringing in a major achievement at the Nürburgring 1,000kms, so we hope these two will be aiming for their first win of the season. Of course, this is also a big chance for the other drivers to perform, so we have high hopes events will unfold in a way that pleases the Nissan fans in Kyushu.”