SUPER GT Round 3 Autopolis: race results
SUBARU BRZ GT300 finishes a close 2nd with a 0.091 second gap
Round 3 of SUPER GT ‘SUPER GT in KYUSHU 300km’ was held on Sunday 21, May at Autopolis in Oita, Japan. Starting the race from 2nd on the grid after the qualifier, the SUBARU BRZ GT300 driven by Takuto Iguichi and Hideki Yamauchi completed the race in 2nd place on the podium, just 0.091 seconds off the top.
Winning a podium place after overcoming a drive system trouble on the first day
Round 3 kicked off under a clear sky. Yamauchi first took the helm of the SUBARU BRZ GT300 as the race started with lower atmospheric and surface temperatures than the previous day. The SUBARU BRZ GT300 had recorded the fastest time in the warm-up session before the race and expectations were high. Right from the off at 14:00, Yamauchi sprinted trying to catch the front-runner – Car Number 25, and sped away from the pack. However, his margin diminished as a safety car intervened in the race due to an accident on Lap 5. After the restart of the race Yamauchi stayed focused and drove at a good pace. The SUBARU BRZ GT300 came back to the pit after 32 laps and was handed over to Iguchi. The team sent him back into the race in front of direct competitor - Car Number 25, thanks to some efficient tire changing.
Iguchi, now behind the wheel returned to the track in 6th. Although he was overtaken by Number 25 on the out-lap, he displayed strong drive to meet the team’s expectations. He actually overtook Car Number 25. On the final lap, the SUBARU BRZ GT 300 closed the gap straight away and finished 2nd with a mere 0.091 second gap with the top. This was the first podium finish for the team since Round 6 at Suzuka in 2016 where they won the race.
Areas to be improved were identified in this race
General Team Manager Hideharu Tatsumi looked back at the race and said: “The drivers must feel frustrated, but we must think this is good compared with the opening and second rounds. We were able to recover from such a situation as we were in in the last 2 races thanks to the effort of the entire team. On the other hand, we also identified areas to be improved in this race. We should pursue more perfection in the car as a whole. Leveraging the reflections from this race, we would like to win in the next race at Sportsland SUGO”. He says that he already has many ideas for improvements, so we will be able to expect more advancement in the car in a future test.
Yamauchi, the starting driver, says that there were both good points and challenges in the race. “I feel frustrated about the race. By competing against Car Number 25, I felt that something was missing with us. I thought that we would not be able to beat them on our own ability. We will have to record better lap times than theirs and stretch the lead, otherwise I will not be able to hand the car over to Iguchi as the race leader. In saying so, I admit that in some parts I was able to run a good race and the team sent me back in front of our rival after the pit stop. I will do my best to take advantage of these good points.”
This was Iguchi’s second podium finish at Autopolis.
“I believe that we were able to show an interesting race to people in Kyushu. Thanks to the team’s effort to repair the car and the Yamauchi’s driving in Q1, we were able to create a sense of unity in the team. In the race today, the team also sent me to the track into a good position after a pit stop, so I was able to pick up a good rhythm in my stint. We could not win but this was a big step forward when considering the results of the last 2 races. I will drive the car over a sufficient distance in the coming test and think how we can narrow the gap with our rival.”
The next stop for SUPER GT is Round 4 at Sportsland SUGO. The event will take place on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23, July. The SUBARU BRZ GT300 will be fully prepared for Round 4 to aim for victory with further improvements after a test. We would like to ask readers and fans for their support for the whole team.