One of two teams carrying on with the old Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, fledgeling independents Arnage Racing have had some tough times lately. This year was a continuation of that theme.
#50 Odyssey Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3
Drivers: Hideto Yasuoka / Rintaro Kubo / Masaki Kano (Rds. 2 & 6)
GT300 Drivers’ Championship: Not Classified (0 points)
GT300 Teams’ Championship: 22nd Place (15 points)
Best Finish: 12th (Fuji 500km)
Best Qualifying: 17th (Motegi I)
Even in a machine that was no longer state of the art, the lime green Odyssey batteries livery was an eye-catcher on the old SLS.
Sadly, it was seen very little unless as part of traffic for GT500 cars to carve through. Arnage are one of the younger, less established teams, running an older-model vehicle, which was never going to be a recipe for outright success in the GT300 arms race of newer cars with all-pro driver lineups.
But the fact that they had the best result of all teams that didn’t register in the GT300 Drivers’ Championship, and finishing 7 out of 8 races, is a real achievement for this independent squad.
One thing that helped was continuity of drivers, even after veteran Masaki Kano stepped away from a full-time driving role in the off-season. Yasuoka – as outspoken as he’s ever been – finally got to step up and lead the team over a full season and put in some solid drives in his own right, and Arnage have a young talent in Kubo – who could still use some refinement and confidence if he is to stick around, however.
What they lack in terms of out-and-out resources, they are starting to accumulate in terms of support as a driven underdog. It wasn’t but two years ago that they had their old Aston Martin V12 Vantage battling for the lead at a wet race in Sugo, and much of that staff is still there.
Let’s hope they can continue to win over supporters in 2017 – if they can secure a newer car, it might help a lot.