2019.06.30-SUPER GT Round 4 - Race：SUBARU BRZ GT300 finishes 11th
Round 4 of the SUPER GT, the “Chang SUPER GT RACE,” the only overseas round of the series, was held on June 30th (Sun) at Thailand’s Chang International Circuit. Despite it being the rainy season in Thailand, race day was blessed with fine weather, and the 66-lap race was held under midsummer sunshine.
The SUBARU BRZ GT300 started from a 13th place qualified position, with changes made to the machine’s final race setup based on its qualifying result. Since it is difficult to overtake for each machine in this circuit’s technical section, sector 3, the assumption was made that the race would be fought from the straight to the high speed corners of sectors 1 and 2. Therefore, the 3rd and 4th gears were changed to a slightly higher gear ratio to allow more extended acceleration.
The suspension settings were changed according to these specifications and the specs altered to reduce the load on the rear tires. The strategy was to replace the two rear tires, or, depending on the situation, the BRZ GT300 would, for the first time, attempt to run the entire race without replacing any tires, and aim for a top position.
Taking the start of the race was Takuto Iguchi, but as the temperature rose by 3pm when the race started, the machine began to slightly overheat. Therefore, Iguchi was forced to increase the flow of air by opening the gap with the machine in front and this resulted in a drop to 14th, 15th, and then 16th place.
Iguchi pitted at lap 26. Hideaki Yamauchi then took the wheel and the decision was made to attempt the BRZ GT300's first non-tire replacement attempt, a bold strategy. Immediately after leaving the pits, Yamauchi took advantage of the strategy’s merits and raised them up the order to 6th, but the safety car was dispatched on lap 38, and the pack stopped briefly on the straight to reorganize the order.
After resuming the race, the top qualifying cars started to improve their positions, while the BRZ GT300 dropped to 13th place, from where it was unable to move back up from. However, when the #7 D'station Racing AMR Aston Martin retired with a right rear tire burst, the SUBARU BRZ GT300 moved up one position before completing 62 laps and passing the checkered flag in 12th place. Following the race, one vehicle was demoted due to a violation and the #61 was moved up further to 11th.
Team Principal, Makoto Shibuya
"Our drivers worked hard under those tough conditions. We didn’t have such a big time difference with the other cars, but, well, we fell into a situation where we found it hard to overtake. In the current situation, if we don’t get to the front in qualifying then it becomes very difficult to climb up the order. It was a good idea to change the machine setup for the race, but it was not enough to make a difference with our rivals. However, being able to finish the race without changing tires was an important thing to verify."
"We took on the challenge of not replacing the tires, but the pace was slow, so it was tough. There’s not much else I can say. It was good to be able to complete the race. I'm sorry"
“Learning that we can do a double stint here with these tires is the extent to what we accomplished today. This time my feeling is that it was tough because we didn’t have enough speed from practice. As a result, we remained caught up in the middle. I think we would be able to easily maintain a good position if we could qualify in the front, but this time we didn’t have the speed. I guess it was good that we were able to finish despite the difficult situation.”
The next round will be round 5, the FUJI GT 500 mile RACE, which will be held at Fuji Speedway on August 3rd (Sat) to 4th (Sun). As the race is approximately 800km, the longest in the series, we can expect the BRZ GT300 to fight hard using a variety of strategies. Although it will be a hot summer race, we hope to receive your support.