Season first victory with a pole-to-finish perfect win
In round 6 of the SUPER GT, the “SUGO GT 300km Race” was held on September 15th (Sun), the SUBARU BRZ GT300 achieved a perfect victory with a pole to win performance.
Hideki Yamauchi served as starting driver for the SUBARU BRZ GT300, which had secured pole position in the previous days qualifying. Yamauchi, who considers SUGO was the one of his strongest circuits, managed to achieve the hole shot at the start and held onto the lead while proceeding to tick of laps. Running in 2nd, the mother chassis, which is sold by GT Association, sporting #25, engaged in a battle with the #9 and #10 GT-3 cars, which allowed Yamauchi to open up a gap with the competition to the rear.
The soft type tires that they used during qualifying worn faster than expected and so they pitted in at lap 31 and changed all four tires. Takuto Iguchi took the steering wheel for the remaining 45 lap and left the pits with sporting hard tires.
With Yamauchi having built up a lead of 14 seconds, Iguchi returned to the course in provisional 11th place, but maintained the top among all cars that had completed their pit stops. Iguchi also went on to steadily tick off laps with consistent times of around 1 minute 22 seconds. With this his gap with the car in 2nd gradually increased and after all cars had changed drivers by lap 51, the SUBARU BRZ GT300 had built up a 13 second lead over the #10 in 2nd.
In the closing stages of the race that gap had increased to 19 seconds and the team appeared to be running with enough margin. However, at lap 63 another machine crashed and caused the dispatch of the safety car, leading to concerns that their margin would be erased. After the course marshal arranged the order and the race restarted at lap 67, there were 8 laps remaining. By then, the gap with the car in 2nd had been reduced to 5 seconds as the race resumed.
At that time Iguchi described his state of mind. He stated, “I still had more than enough capacity to push hard so I wasn’t worried at all,” a quote that demonstrates how the SUBARU BRZ GT300 had been performing well.
They continued on in the top spot until the checkered flag and achieved their first victory of the season.
-- Hideki Yamauchi
“We were able to take this victory due to the team who built up such a great machine and the fans who pushed us on with their support. To be honest we’ve had so many troubles up until now so I was a little nervous, but I was confident the car would hold out until the end and so I’m glad I was able to complete my stint. Because we’ve been unable to achieve a good result until now I’m really happy with this win.”
-- Takuto Iguchi
“Up until now we’ve had a number of instances where the car was broken while we were driving and so I really want to say how much I appreciate the fans not giving up on us and continuing to support us. I’m so glad that I was able to win and repay their loyalty. Yamauchi built up a really big lead in the early stages of the race, which meant I was able to drive without pressure and the machine was driven without any drop in performance, which led to this result.”
-- Team Principal, Shibuya
“We have continued to try modifications to the machine’s specifications permitted within the regulations and this time it seems that it worked out well. The next round is at Autopolis, which has similar characteristics to SUGO and so it suits the SUBARU BRZ GT300. We will be set with an increase in handicap weight due to our victory, but that weight will be halved in the next round due to the regulations, which is really lucky for us. I want to use this win as a springboard to aim for victory in the remaining two rounds.
The SUBARU BRZ GT300 was set with 22kg of handicap weight since finishing 3rd at round 3 at Suzuka. After this victory that weight will be added to 40kg, then total weight will be 62kg, but the regulations stipulate that from next round (Round 7 out of 8 Round) the handicap weights will be reduced by half, which means their weight will fortunately be reduced to 31kg. On top of that the handicap weight will be dropped to zero in the final round, meaning consecutive victories are within the realm of possibility.
The next round of the SUPER GT will be held on October 20th (Sat) to 21st (Sun) at Autopolis, Hita, Oita Prefecture. This is a circuit that is suited to the machine and where Takuto Iguchi is strong, so please keep on supporting the SUBARU BRZ GT300 that is aiming for consecutive victories.