One of the mysteries of this past weekend’s Autobacs Super GT Series race at Sportsland Sugo was the retirement of the #12 Calsonic Impul GT-R of Hironobu Yasuda and Joao Paulo Lima de Oliveira. The Calsonic GT-R came to a stop, turned around and in the infield grass at the S-Curves, retiring on 36 laps.
Motorsport.com’s Japanese wing captured images of the sequence that saw Oliveira crash the Calsonic GT-R in the S-Curves while trying to avoid a GT300 car that had spun out on the racing line.
On lap 36, the #2 Syntium Apple Lotus Evora (Hiroki Katoh/Kazuho Takahashi) spun at the left-hander at the S-Curves. This was the Lotus’ second incident of the day, after Takahashi spun on the opening lap at turn one.
Both Daisuke Ito in the #36 au TOM’s RC-F and Satoshi Motoyama in the #46 S Road MOLA GT-R were able to avoid the Lotus, which had turned around on the racing line through the S-Curves. But Oliveira, who was right behind Motoyama, could not react quick to avoid spinning into the wet grass, and crashing rear-first into the tyre barriers – ending a difficult race for the Impul team.
Just one hour before the start of the race, during their final warmup laps, the Calsonic GT-R suffered a broken prop shaft. The car was brought back to the garage, where the Calsonic Team Impul mechanics did a phenomenal job to repair the broken driveshaft in just twenty minutes. They were still forced to start from pit lane, and were mired down the order for most of the race.
Calsonic Team Impul have never won at Sportsland Sugo, and their poor luck at the track continues for another year – and with two consecutive retirements on the board, Yasuda and Oliveira have now sunk to tenth in the GT500 Drivers’ Championship.