The EVA Racing colours returned to Super GT in support of Rn-sports, who embarked on their second year as a stand-alone team.
#111 EVA RT Test-01 Rn-sports Mercedes-AMG GT3
Drivers: Masayuki Ueda / Kazuya Tsuruta / Keishi Ishikawa (Suzuka 1000km)
GT300 Drivers’ Championship: Not Classified (0 points)
GT300 Teams’ Championship: 23rd Place (17 points)
Best Finish: 14th (Fuji 500km)
Best Qualifying: 23rd (Suzuka, Buriram)
It’s a real shame that the EVA Unit-01 liveried Mercedes-AMG wasn’t seen more often. Fondness for all itasha-inspired liveries aside, the unlikely explosion of purple, green, and orange looks incredible on this car.
Their lack of visibility comes down to an outright lack of speed, not qualifying higher than the 12th row in all eight rounds of this season, and failing to break into the points for the second consecutive season. This is down to their driver lineup: Ueda is 56 and has only a handful of seasons’ experience in GT300. Tsuruta is younger, but also has minimal high-level racing experience himself at age 34. It is a true all-amateur driver lineup.
Still, they did manage to keep a clean sheet and finish 100 percent of their races through smart driving and rock-solid reliability. In fact, in Rn-sports’ two seasons as a stand-alone team since spinning off from Gainer, Ueda and Tsuruta have finished 15 out of 15 races! For all the flack that amateur sports car racers get for being safety liabilities, these two are remarkably tidy drivers.
Some teams were spectacularly futile or underwhelming in GT300, through crashes and poor reliability, sometimes both. Rn-sports have the opposite problem: They were way too understated, but they have the potential to break out at any time. Their cars are impeccably prepared, compared to their peers.
This is a team that could stand to infuse some youth into their driver lineup. Having succeeded in 2014 with Hideki Yamauchi (back when they were essentially the old #10 Gainer team), they found another young gem this year in Ishikawa, who drove well for the team at Suzuka as a one-off. Maybe he’s their future – we’ll see what they have in store for 2017.