22 Nov 2018SGT

6th place finish proves the BRZ is competitive even at unsuited courses

Round 8 of the SUPER GT series, the “MOTEGI GT 250km RACE GRAND FINAL” was held on November 11th (Sun) at Tochigi prefecture’s Twin Ring Motegi, where the SUBARU BRZ GT300 finished in 6th place.

The final round of the season was held in front of a large gathering of fans who came out on this unusually warm November Sunday. Although they were aiming for a high spot in the GT300 class rankings, the SUBARU BRZ GT300 has failed to attain points at Motegi for the past few years. With this in mind, being able to grab points at a course that doesn’t match the car was quite a feat.

Takuto Iguchi served as starting driver. Immediately after the race began, Iguchi took advantage of contact between the #65 and #0 who were battling for 2nd and managed to move up to 3rd in the opening lap. The #61 SUBARU BRZ GT300 maintained its 3rd place position while keeping its difference with the #0 running in 2nd to under a second. After around 20 laps had passed in the race, each machine began to head into the pits and the #61 went in at lap 23. With each team implementing various strategies, including not changing any tires, the SUBARU BRZ GT300 made the decision of changing all four of its tires.

Hideki Yamauchi then took the wheel, heading out on new tires and aiming for a higher placed position. However, due to the SUBARU BRZ GT300 taking time to refuel, he ultimately lost a few places. Returning to the course in 7th place he was forced to chase after the top group.

In spite of this, Yamauchi continued to attack and, after moving up one position, he reduced his gap with the 3-car battle for 3rd from over 5 seconds to less than a second by the closing stages, well within range. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to make a pass and ultimately finished in 6th.

Hideki Yamauchi
“We are always aiming for a pull away race, but this time we really did well with the machine’s setup and were able to implement a comeback performance, which was a good takeaway for us. If we could reduce our pit times just a little more and come out in front, I don’t think anyone could catch us and we would be able to come away with a better result. When I think about that it’s a bit disappointing, but I think we did the best we could.”

Takuto Iguchi
“The fact that we were able to get points here at Motegi, where we have been unable to get points for the last 3 to 4 years, makes me think that we carried out a good race. If our refueling time was around the same as the team’s around us, I think we could have made it to the podium. That proves that the machine has really evolved. The team built up a situation that allowed both us drivers to push hard right until the end of our stints and I’m really thankful for that.”

Team Principal, Shibuya
“I think we did the best that we could. The drivers really performed well, and the tires held out right until the end. Until now we haven’t been able to get points at Motegi so I think this 6th place finish is a good result. If our refueling time was just 3 seconds shorter, we could have pulled out in front, so it’s a bit frustrating but I think this is the best result we could have got.”

This season the machine had a lot of troubles and a lot of tough races but in the final stages the its strengths and weaknesses became clear and it looks like it is clear what direction development needs to move in the future. Team principal, Shibuya related, “If we think about races, in regards to the entire series, it’s important to get as many points at tracks that we’re not strong at and aim for victory at tracks where we are. So, we probably need to think about a way of competing that will allow us to do that.”

The SUBARU BRZ GT300 finished the season at 8th in the drivers’ rankings and 11th in the teams’ rankings. Thanks to all for their support throughout the year.