SUBARU BRZ GT300 Finishes 12th
Round 8 of the SUPER GT series, the “MOTEGI GT 250km RACE” was held on November 3rd (Sun) at Twin Ring Motegi, Tochigi Prefecture where the SUBARU BRZ GT300 started from a qualified15th place and finished the race in 12th.
The final round was held in front of a large audience under comfortable weather conditions, with an air temperature of 20°C and on a road surface temperature of 23°C. Since the SUBARU BRZ GT300 would be starting from a difficult 15th place out of 29 cars, they were forced to implement a different strategy to those taken up until now if they wanted to aim for top placing finish.
According to STI Team Principal, Makoto Shibuya, the tires used in qualifying Q1 were designated as the start tire and the team decided to gamble on not changing tires during the race. This season one of the development goals for the tires was to improve durability without reducing the grip and so the team saw this as an opportunity to test the results.
Director Shibuya stated, “It’s true that tires have a great influence on the race, and I think the current state of the machine achieves a good balance. Considering our qualifying position, if we carry out the race in our usual fashion we can’t hope to aim for a higher position, so we’ve decided to make the pit stop time as short as possible by choosing to not change tires. The BRZ GT300 was 2nd fastest in Q1 and all the other cars will be using their Q1 tires so I think we could raise our position higher, even starting from 15th place.'' This tactic proved successful and starting driver, Takuto Iguchi, passed two rivals before handing the car over to Hideki Yamauchi. Yamauchi then took the wheel and immediately began to tick off laps at competitive times and aim for a top spot.
On the previous day, Team Principal Shibuya explained that in the race they would implement a strategy of running at consistent times. Both Iguchi and Yamauchi recorded times in the range of 1 minute 50-51 seconds and were able to run without dropping this pace, even at the closing stages of the race. On the other hand, some rivals saw their race pace drop to the 54-second range and this allowed Yamauchi to move up the rankings and ultimately finish in 12th place.
Comment from Hideki Yamauchi
“The tire situation was tough. We thought that if we could set up the car so that it could run through 2 stints without changing tires, we would be able to catch the #88 and #360. This wasn’t the result I was hoping for so it’s a little disappointing but this is the state that we are currently at and so I want to improve our competitiveness from now on. I don’t think we’ve been able to meet our fans’ expectations, but I want to thank them for their support throughout the year.”
Comment from Takuto Iguchi
“My qualifying (Q2) was really frustrating so I analyzed various data that the team showed me and I thought that I could have used it in the final, to some extent, but there was only so much that could be done starting from 15th. It is difficult to adapt the results of such analysis immediately to driving but I think I was able to contribute a little. We were able to make use of it in the race, run without making mistakes and carry out our strategy as planned. I think it was good that the team, machine and drivers were able to work together as one unit. Thanks go out to all the fans for their support for the whole year.”
Even though they were able to close the difference at the corners during the race, the FIA GT3 machines were able to pull away with faster exit acceleration, and so they weren’t able to dramatically improve their position. However, they were able to run the entire race on just one set of tires without significantly reducing their lap times. This shows that one of the goals of this season, to develop the new tires, has produced results.
The SUBARU BRZ GT300 finished the 2019 season at 18th in the drivers’ rankings and 13th in the teams’ rankings. Thank you so much to the fans for their support this year.