SUBARU BRZ GT300 fails to take advantage of its course record setting pole position and finishes 28th
Round 7 of the SUPER GT Series, the “SUGO GT 300km Race” was held on September 22nd (Sun) at Sportsland SUGO. Although the SUBARU BRZ GT300 started from pole position, after being tossed around by light drizzle that turned into heavy rain, its race ended after driving 62 laps. Its official result was 28th place.
The weather in the Tohoku region on race day was set to worsen due to a front coming from the approaching typhoon and thus the team, assuming that it would rain during the race, modified the machine’s setup for rainy weather. They slightly raised the vehicle’s height, made adjustments towards raising the rear downforce, and carried out measures to ensure stable driving on a slippery road surface.
When the cars lined up on the starting grid following the warm-up session, many machines were equipped with slick tires for the, then, dry road surface. However, as the starting time approached, a light drizzle began to fall intermittently, creating a tough choice for tire selection.
Although the SUBARU BRZ GT300 had the speed to mark down the course record on the dry road surface, it had a lack of rain tire data, and so the decision was made to try and initially gain as much time as possible driving on slick tires then change to rain tires if necessary depending on the situation.
The race started at 2pm. Hideki Yamauchi took the wheel just as the weather was showing signs of deteriorating. During the rolling start behind the lead of the safety car, the rainfall became heavier and the road surface changed to wet. As a result, the team’s judgement call backfired on them and they were forced to carry out an emergency pit stop in lap 9 to change to rain tires.
After that, Hideki Yamauchi pitted in at lap 41 and handed the wheel over to Takuto Iguchi. However, at around lap 50, the team heard over the radio that the accelerator response was bad. Although Iguchi kept his eye on the situation while ticking off laps, he spun out at Horseback Corner in lap 58. Fortunately, he didn’t run off course and was able to immediately return to the race, but the team determined that the delayed engine response was the cause and so they decided to call Iguchi back into the pits.
“Unfortunately, starting with slick tires proved to be the wrong choice, but our tire choice matched the rainfall after that, so we were able to get some valuable data. We haven’t had many rain tire tests, until now so that’s one positive we can take away from this. However, we weren’t able to pass the checkered flag and had a difficult race overall. As long as there are people supporting us at the final round in Motegi, we won’t stop doing our best. We won’t forget this disappointment and will use it to motivate us to prepare well and aim for victory in the next round.”
-Team Principal, Makoto Shibuya
“As far as I can tell, the throttle response was fine. There seems to be another cause. I don’t know the exact cause yet, but we will implement solid countermeasures before entering the final round. I'm very sorry to the fans who supported us. I hope they will continue to cheer for us in the final round.”
The next round of Super GT will be the final round of the 2019 season. It will be held over November 2nd (Sat) to 3rd (Sun) at Twin Ring Motegi, Tochigi Prefecture.