If it feels like Christmas Day has come early, in a sense, it has.
The teams and drivers of the Autobacs Super GT Series arrived for the first round of the 2017 season at Okayama International Circuit. As the cars were unloaded and photos were taken for the press, there were quite a few things to catch up on.
Here’s some notes from “Day Zero” at Okayama.
There’s been a significant aero change to the #61 Subaru BRZ R&D Sport (Takuto Iguchi/Hideki Yamauchi).
The Subaru showed up at Okayama boasting a brand new “swan neck” rear wing design, that was not seen in testing, but has been tested extensively at the wind tunnel.
Taking a design cue from the similarly styled GT500 rear wings, this will allow the Subaru to generate more downforce from the bottom surface of the rear wing.
With its new transaxle drivetrain and its new rear wing design, hopes are high for Subaru this season.
The #38 ZENT Cerumo LC500 (Yuji Tachikawa/Hiroaki Ishiura) has a revised livery – and as you can see, there’s been plenty of colours added since it was last seen in testing!
The paint splashes are inspired by ZENT’s new “Play, more!” ad campaigns.
Even the Lexus Team ZENT Cerumo garage has been splashed over!
After testing in partial liveries in March, a few teams finally revealed their 2017 colours.
The unmistakable #12 Calsonic Impul GT-R (Hironobu Yasuda/Jann Mardenborough) finally takes to the track in its familiar shade of Brilliant Blue.
So does the silver, black, and red #46 S Road Craftsports GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama/Katsumasa Chiyo).
Out of the Honda stable, the #100 Raybrig NSX-GT (Naoki Yamamoto/Takuya Izawa) debuts its “Phase-02” livery for 2017, largely the same as last year’s.
There’s a few new looks for the GT300 grid as well, starting with BMW Team Studie’s livery, unveiled on Thursday.
The new look of the #7 Studie BMW M6 (Jörg Müller/Seiji Ara), with its geometric lines, is inspired by that of the 1976 BMW 3.0 CSL Art Car designed by Frank Stella.
The #51 JMS P.MU RC F GT3 (Yuichi Nakayama/Sho Tsuboi) has a striking silver, black, and orange look, inspired by the colours of the Cerumo-INGING Super Formula team.
As reported on Thursday, three-time Super GT champion Masahiko Kageyama has been named team director of the #51 Lexus team.
There’s a new look for one of the JLOC Lamborghini Huracán GT3s, specifically, that of the #87 Shop Channel Lamborghini GT3 (Shinya Hosokawa/Kimiya Sato), which has a new title sponsor.
“Pink-Zilla” is officially no more, with Dijon Racing unveiling a new aqua colour for their #48 Nissan GT-R (Hiroshi Takamori/Masaki Tanaka). The new sponsor is a hair transplant/restoration clinic in Tokyo.
There’s a new look for the first full-season team from Thailand, Panther Team Thailand. The #35 Arto 86 MC 101 (Nattavude Charoensukhawatana/Nattapong Horthongkum) has an all-black livery adorned with the colours of the Flag of Thailand across the top of the car.
It’s a departure from their red and white liveries they’ve run as a wildcard team in 2014 and 2016.
The defending GT300 champions at VivaC Team Tsuchiya adorned their #25 VivaC 86 MC (Takamitsu Matsui/Kenta Yamashita) in full livery, mostly the same as last year’s.
Little need to change an already iconic look – the #5 Mach Syaken 86MC GTNET (Natsu Sakaguchi/Kiyoto Fujinami) is a demon on wheels. *Auto Jacks and Homing Robots not permitted under GT Association regulations.
The official 2017 Super GT Live Timing App was released on Thursday for iPhone and iPad devices. The app itself is a free download – though the live timing functionality itself requires a one-time purchase of ¥860 JPY (or $7.99 USD).
Once again, the app is still an iOS exclusive, at a time where Android’s share of the smartphone market in Japan alone is now virtually even with iOS.
Finally, for those keen on watching Saturday qualifying for the Okayama GT 300km Race on J Sports 3, it is being pre-empted by NPB baseball games on the entire J Sports multi-plex, and will be broadcast “as live” at 6:30 PM JST, hours after the event’s conclusion in real time.