27 August 2017SGT

SUPER GT Round 6 Suzuka Circuit: race result

SUBARU BRZ GT300 finishes 7th in a marathon 1000 km race

In Round 6 of SUPER GT ‘46TH INTERNATIONAL SUZUKA 1000km’ the SUBARU BRZ GT300, driven by Takuto Iguichi and Hideki Yamauchi, started from 8th on the grid and moved up a place to complete the race in 7th.

Frustration persists after being unable to race well enough to their satisfaction

Race day began in fine weather and it was forecast that both atmospheric and track surface temperatures would be high during the race. After the qualifier on the previous day, the team changed their suspension settings. In order to improve their position from 8th spot on the grid, the tire change timing would also be an important strategy for them as their SUBARU BRZ GT300 was fitted with the softer rubbers. After a 20-minute warm-up session from 10:55, the longest race of the series kicked off at 12:30 for around 6 hours.

In this race competitors were obliged to make 5 pit stops and with Yamauchi as the starting driver, the team planned that the two drivers would drive 3 stints each. Once it started, the race progressed without any major disruption even with the Safety Car coming on twice. Taking advantage of its strengths in cornering and braking, the SUBARU BRZ GT300 breathed down the neck of the front-runners, which excel at straight speeds, but it struggled to overtake them. Even so, Iguchi and Yamauchi made a tenacious effort much to the joy of the fans on many occasions. The team also took an aggressive approach and implemented a strategy not to replace tires to reduce the time at the pit stop. As a result, they moved up to 3rd once but finished in 7th by the end. With their goal set to a win, frustration persisted in the team after the race.

Improving from the experience in this race

The starting driver Yamauchi also drove the 3rd and 5th stints. “I am very frustrated but I believe that I did my best under the current rules. We will not be able to win by just following the cars in front of us, so we must keep trying to overtake them. I feel that it will be difficult to overtake them unless we prepare the suspension, tires and the car with our aim to run faster on corners. I myself also must try to catch the front-runners. In the next race in Thailand, our handicap weight will be reduced to a half. In addition, everyone in the team felt frustrated after this race, so with that as motivation, we will try hard for a win”, he commented positively.

Iguchi, who drove 2nd, 4th and 6th stints said, “it was a difficult race. It was tough to keep up with the FIA GT3 cars and I could not run my own race. I could not drive any faster in cornering, so I wanted to catch up in pit stops and move up the field, but it did not work out as planned. We were going to win in this race at Suzuka, so now we are facing hardship in terms of points. However, we usually do reasonably well in Thailand, so we would like to make our car faster to take pole position in the qualifier, do a good job in the race and win it.” He will put this experience behind him and move on for the next race.

General Team Manager Hideharu Tatsumi held back his frustration and commented on the race. “I do not think our strategy and tires were bad choices, but we were forced to run the race at their pace. With the current SUBARU BRZ GT300 that was the fastest we could drive. What we should reflect on is that we had to start the race from 8th on the grid. I regret that for the qualifier, we could not find the set-up that we used in the race. I think that a lack of training mileage affected the qualifier result. Even if we try hard to overtake other cars at corners, we fall back on straights. Not just the drivers but also all the other members of the team feel frustrated. To free ourselves from this frustration, we will have to think what we can do better for the next race.”

The next stop for SUPER GT is Round 7 ‘Chang SUPER GT RACE’ on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8, October. Taking place at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand, this is the only event in the SUPER GT series held outside Japan. After a disappointing retirement last year, the team will work as one to overcome this setback. We would like to ask readers and fans for their support for the team with the SUBARU BRZ GT300.