Picking up tire debris, the SUBARU BRZ GT300 loses pace and finishes 15th
Round 7 of the SUPER GT, the “AUTOPOLIS GT 300 km Race,” was held on October 10th (Sun) at Autopolis, Hita City, Oita Prefecture, where there were high hopes that the SUBARU BRZ GT300 would climb up from its 4th place qualifying but finally finished in 15th place.
Blessed with fine weather, Autopolis was covered in bright sunshine and the road surface temperature steadily rose. By the time the race started at 2:00pm, the road surface had risen to 35°C. Being a course that sees cars strongly attack its road surface, along with the fact that it is known to be a track that often causes a great deal of pick up from tire rubber debris, the race truly became a competition decided by tire choice. Hideki Yamauchi took the wheel for the start in the SUBARU BRZ GT300 and in the early stages, at lap 7, he found his path blocked by the #10 car that had dropped out of the fight for 2nd. By lap 17 he was maintaining a gap of 8 seconds over the competition to his rear while holding his position in 4th. However, at this point the safety car was dispatched and the margin he had built over his chasing rivals was immediately erased.
The race was resumed at lap 23 but the SUBARU BRZ GT300 was unable to pass the #10 car and although the gap was reduced to 0.267 seconds, the tires it was riding on started to reach their limit of degradation. Still running in 4th, Yamauchi went into the pits at lap 27 and handed the car over to Takuto Iguchi. The team returned the car to the course after changing all 4 tires and refueling. However, as the car left the pits it had dropped down to 11th place. On top of that, their pit out timing saw 5 cars running in front of them, creating a difficult situation as they returned to the course.
Iguchi carried out ardent attacks several times but struggled to move up further. Furthermore, he was unfortunate enough to begin suffering from pickup of rubber tire debris. The more debris the car tires pick up the less contact they make with the road surface and the car’s handling becomes unstable. It goes without saying that this also reduces the amount of grip and naturally reduces the competitiveness of the machine, which caused them to gradually drop down the order. Although they completed the race, the pickup situation continued until the end and they ultimately finished in 15th place.
-- Hideki Yamauchi
“It really hurt us not being able to overtake the #10 in the opening stages. I learned today that unless you grab pole position and then pull away in the race it is really difficult to take victory. In the next round I will do everything I can to take pole position so please continue to cheer us on.
-- Takuto Iguchi
“When it comes to overtaking, if you don’t go for it as soon as you see an opening it won’t happen. While I was dealing with the cars in front, I began to pick up tire fragments and this prevented me from overtaking. In the next race, if we are not starting in the front row, we will not be able to run a good race, so we will attack with everything we have got. Please continue to support us.”
-- Team Principal, Shibuya
“This turned into a difficult race. Other teams take less than 20 seconds to refuel but the SUBARU BRZ GT300 takes over 30 seconds. That’s due to the refueling restrictor and the large amount of fuel that we required. For that reason, we need about 14 seconds of lead time when we pit or else, we will lose positions. On top of that, in terms of the pickup situation, if we are able to get to a point where we are pulling away in the lead, we can avoid the lines where the tire debris are, so I think we will need to establish a strategy like that for the final round. Please keep cheering on the SUBARU BRZ GT300.”
The next round of the SUPER GT, the “2018 SUPER GT Round8 MOTEGI GT 250km RACE GRAND FINAL,” will be held at Twin Ring Motegi over November 10th (Sat) to 11th (Sun). We hope you will cheer on the SUBARU BRZ GT300, which will be fighting with all it has at the final round, the culmination of this season.