2019.08.05-The SUBARU BRZ GT300 finishes 10th
Round 5 of the SUPER GT Series, the “Fuji GT 500 mile Race” was held on August 5th (Sun). Under sweltering mid-summer heat, a red-hot battle unfolded in front of an audience of over 60,000.
Hideki Yamauchi served as starting driver for the SUBARU BRZ GT300 and began the race from a fairly good 4th qualified grid position. He maintained 4th position in the opening stages of the race, which started at 1:40pm and was competed for 177 laps. Yamauchi went into the pits after completing 31 laps in the first stint. Takuto Iguchi then took the wheel. The team replaced all four tires before sending the car back out, but it took a long time to refuel, which caused them to significantly drop down the order.
In spite of this, Iguchi displayed a bold run to gradually move back up the ranks. In addition, several teams experienced trouble with their tires and machines due to the severe heat, and this allowed him to recover their lost position. Then, for three laps, beginning from lap 58, he engaged in a breathtakingly fierce battle for 3rd place with the #360 GT-R and #65 Mercedes AMG GT3. The BRZ GT300 ultimately moved up to 3rd place before pitting in lap 64.
Yamauchi took the wheel again, but this time he left the pits after only changing the two rear tires. For this race the team endeavored to shorten their pit stop times by reducing their number of tire changes. For that reason, they took the bold strategy of changing only two tires, then changing all four, and then finally changing none of the tires in the final stint with Yamauchi.
Even using this strategy, they were still forced into a situation of losing positions when pitting and regaining them after returning to the course. During the last stint with Yamauchi driving, the tires experienced severe degradation and he struggled to improve their lap times, resulting in him gradually falling down the order.
Despite being among the teams competing for the top spot, the other teams had the advantage of short refueling times in the pits, and this resulted in the SUBARU BRZ GT300 having a tough race.
“The reliability of the machine has improved and gotten better overall, and I think we performed as best we could. It took a long time to refuel, which made it a difficult race. However, as the BRZ GT300 is always up against the odds at Fuji, the fact that we were able to finish the race and get points was good.”
Team Principal, Makoto Shibuya
“We were able to race without making any mistakes in the pits, while also taking on the challenge of reducing our number of tire changes, but were unable to shorten the time lost in refueling, and we were forced to make up for this on the track. Under the current conditions, this type of long-distance race has become a tough task for us.”
Round 6 of the SUPER GT will be held on September 7th (Sat) and 8th (Sun) at Autopolis, Hita City, Oita Prefecture. Here’s hoping the team can overcome this disappointment in the next race.