SUPER GT Rd. 1 Okayama International Circuit – Race
With an amazing comeback, the machine proves its potential
Round 1 of the SUPER GT, the “OKAYAMA GT 300km RACE” was held on April 8th (Sun) at Okayama International Circuit, Mimasaka, Okayama Prefecture. The SUBARU BRZ GT300 (Takuto Iguchi / Hideki Yamauchi) began from 10th place on the grid with Yamauchi serving as starting driver for the race.
During the warm up lap held prior to the race, the car’s settings were focused on achieving the top possible speed. However, this resulted in greater than expected tire degradation and this left the team concerned with how well the tires would hold up during the race. For this reason, they altered the settings to capitalise on downforce. That being said, the low downforce specs remained unchanged compared to last year and this increased expectations for a strong overtaking performance.
Yamauchi’s fierce charge brings them up to 2nd
Yamauchi displayed a fiery charge from their 10th place qualified position and impressed those watching with an exhilarating performance, fiercely pursuing the rivals in front, diving hard into the corners and passing several machines with nimble cornering. Yamauchi not only passed the #65 AMG GT3, but also went on to overtake other GT-3 machines such as the Lamborghini and RC-F, lifting them as high as 2nd place by the end of his stint.
Then at lap 36 he pitted in to hand the wheel over to Iguchi. At his point there were high hopes that they would advance even further. However, due to regulations placing limits on refuelling speed and the fact that they refuelled a larger amount than other teams, their pit work unavoidably ate into their time. For that reason, when Iguchi returned to the course, and with several rivals yet to go into the pits, they were running in 14th place. In reality they had returned to 8th place, but that was still a drop of 5 positions.
Iguchi began to fight back and was steadily bringing them back up through the ranks until around lap 50, when their pace began to drop off. This seemed to be due to technical troubles and, in the end, they were forced to pit a second time due to these issues. This being a race where each team pitted only once, the SUBARU BRZ GT300 pitting a second time saw it fall a lap behind the competition and finished the opening round in a vexing 18th place.
“In a race, results are everything so there really isn’t much I can say but I think for me, personally, I performed as well as I could have. That being said, we really need to properly look into the cause of the trouble and make sure we are fully prepared for the next round. I also want to send out a huge thanks to the mechanics who managed to fix the handling issues that I struggled with during the morning’s warm up. This season’s BRZ is in a situation where the GT-3 machines have better acceleration but when the tires begin to degrade we definitely start to close in so I want to focus closely on tire management.”
Team Principal, Shibuya
“The cause of today’s trouble isn’t clear yet, but the rear was becoming unstable under braking. We came to the conclusion that it would be dangerous to continue driving under those conditions, so we brought the car into the pits. This is a not an issue that we have had trouble with up until now, so we will work hard to determine the cause and ensure that we are in a position to aim for the top spot in the next round.”
Round 2 of the SUPER GT will be held over May 3rd (Thur) to 4th (Fri) at Fuji Speedway, Oyama, Sunto, Shizuoka Prefecture. The team hopes that their fans will passionately cheer for the SUBARU BRZ GT300 that will continue to engage in the most fiercely contested high speed battles in the series.