SUPER GT Round 7 Chang International Circuit: race result
An unfortunate retirement for the SUBARU BRZ GT300 due to mechanical fault
Round 7 of SUPER GT ‘Chang Super GT RACE’ was held on Sunday 8, October. Starting from 5th on the grid, the SUBARU BRZ GT300 (with team drivers, Takuto Iguichi and Hideki Yamauchi) moved up to 4th but later dropped out of the race due to a drive-train issue.
Sudden car trouble in the mid-stage of the race
After a rain-sodden qualifier, race day began in brilliant sunshine. With Takuto Iguchi and Hideki Yamauchi behind the wheel, the SUBARU BRZ GT300 on a dry setting completed the ‘Circuit Safari’ and warm-up programs in preparation for the main race. 30 minutes before the start however, the circuit was hit by a sudden downpour during ‘Grid Walk’. Even though the rain stopped quickly, the road surfaces were wet and it was expected to be a difficult race for competitors, having to deal with changing road conditions. While some teams opted for slicks, the SUBARU BRZ GT300 set off on wet tires after taking road conditions and rain clouds into consideration.
The race began with the Safety Car guiding the field. Behind the wheel of the SUBARU, Yamauchi timed it well to keep the best position in the group he was in. He was also able to concentrate on catching up with the front-runners as the rival on the grid behind him had chosen slick tires. Under such circumstances, he quickly moved up a position to 4th. In order to change to dry tires and to refuel, he dropped back once, and then began furiously chasing those in front. However, his push fell short when a problem hit his car. The SUBARU driver pulled off on the course side to minimize any damage to his vehicle.
The team will identify the cause of the problem and aim to drive faster in the season finale.
Yamauchi, the starting driver, looked back at a disappointing race and said, “I did my best in the changing conditions due to the rain. I was also able to widen the gap with the trailing cars at the start. My lap times were not bad even after changing to slick tires. It would have been good if we have completed the race because we do not know how much we could have been able to fight back without finishing. I suddenly felt something was wrong and quickly stopped the car. I played it safe to prevent further damage to the car.”
He added comments about the last race of this season at Twin Ring Motegi. “If we can work on the advantages of our car; good performance during cornering and braking, we should be able to compensate for any disadvantages, so I will do my best. We have not yet won this season, and I will be sad if our fans think ‘it happened yet again’.” His encouraging comments reflect a change of thinking.
Iguchi, who did not have the chance to drive this time, looked back at the race and said, “I think that our team was running a good race from the word go. I felt that the timing to switch to slick tires could have been a little earlier but we were running in a good position anyway, so the result was disappointing. We must go for a win in the next race and therefore the whole team including the drivers must try hard to create a situation where we can claim a victory”. Expectations are high for the team to clear themselves of a disappointing race.
“Although we retired, our performance was stable after changing to slick tires. We were running at almost the same pace as the leader”, said General Team Manager Hideharu Tatsumi when he looked back at the race. “It rained right before the start, but we decided to go for the tactics with short stints and 2 pit stops. Our pace was stable but we hoped that the wet tire could have lasted longer. We will clearly identify the cause of the problem with the car before we go to Twin Ring Motegi. This time, we made a bold change in the car and we will think about further improvements for the next race”.
The next and final stop of the 2017 SUPER GT is Round 8 ‘MOTEGI GT GRAND FINAL’ on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12, November. Since handicap weights will be removed from all cars competing, a close fight is expected. As the team with the SUBARU BRZ GT300 pushes themselves hard to end the season on perfection, we would like to ask readers and fans for their enthusiastic support.