To be the fastest driver on Mount Fuji’s premier racing circuit requires the utmost speed and precision. Fuji Speedway’s current layout is a modern blend of the flat-out speed and sweeping curves that defined the circuit’s original layout, and a technical final sector requiring unmatched flow and rhythm.
Let’s look at some of the best onboard laps in modern Fuji Super GT history.
Yuji Tachikawa, 2010
With a record ten pole positions and seven race wins at Fuji Speedway, Yuji Tachikawa is deserving of the “Fuji-meister” moniker. Five out of his seven Fuji wins have come on this layout, with a season sweep in 2005. Tachikawa “only” qualified sixth for this 2010 Fuji 500km, but judging from this very well-composed lap, you wouldn’t be able to tell.
Takashi Kobayashi, 2016 (GT300 Class Record)
Kobayashi and co-driver Shinichi Takagi have captured GT300 class pole positions in the two most recent Super GT races at Fuji Speedway. This record lap of 1:35.707 by Kobayashi in the ARTA BMW M6 was quicker than the fastest LMGTE car at the WEC Six Hours of Fuji – by over two and a half seconds! – and less than a second slower than the tail end of the LMP2 field in the same race.
James Rossiter, 2015
Rossiter’s very first Super GT victory came at Fuji Speedway, and here he is on a remarkably smooth lap in the old Petronas TOM’s RC-F. It amazes me how much grip the GT500 cars have through the 100R, and surprisingly, this lap was “only” good enough for third on the grid in last year’s 300km race.
Lucas Ordoñez, 2015 (NISMO Festival of Speed)
GT Academy champion emeritus Ordoñez stepped back aboard the wheel of the D’Station GT-R at last year’s NISMO Festival of Speed at Fuji to record this “drivers’ eye view” run in traffic. The bus on track at Turn 1 is for those on the Circuit Safari – a Super GT tradition carried over to the Nissan racing fans on hand last year.
Masami Kageyama, 2010
Kageyama has driven in twenty-three consecutive seasons of Super GT since his 1994 debut. A former GT500 champion, Kageyama will race for Team Mach in this weekend’s race at Fuji – but here’s the old master at the wheel of the Hankook Porsche 911 GT3 – a pole-winning performance in the GT300 class.
Takashi Kogure, 2007
Fuji Speedway hasn’t been kind to Honda in recent years, but in 2007, the original NSXes were almost unbeatable. Kogure won pole position with this lap in the Takata Dome NSX – the second in a run of four consecutive poles for he and Ryo Michigami in that car, and a record-tying five on the season for any team/driver combo. It would be many years before anyone went under the 1:33s at Fuji.
Andre Lotterer, 2005
The three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer posted this video to his YouTube channel back in 2007 – it’s one of the earliest onboard runs from Fuji Speedway, aboard the old EPSON NSX that he shared with Tsugio Matsuda. For the audiophiles, the harsh roar of the NSX’s 3.5L V6 is something spectacular. Lotterer finished on the podium six times at Fuji, but never won here in Super GT.
Alex Buncombe, 2015 (NISMO Festival of Speed)
Finally, we wrap it up with a car that never raced at the current Fuji layout, and a driver who’s never raced in a Super GT championship event before. Buncombe is sawing at the wheel for most of the lap looking for every bit of traction that the Pennzoil NISMO GT-R can get on a damp track – quite the contrast from the rest of the laps we’ve seen.