Three-time GT300 class champion Morio Nitta was involved in a hard crash at lap 49 of 77 in the opening round of the Autobacs Super GT Series at Okayama International Circuit.
Nitta, was taken to the circuit’s infield medical center via ambulance after his #50 Ferrari 488 GT3 collided head-on with the inside concrete barrier at Williams Corner (Turn 2).
Thankfully, the 50-year-old veteran driver suffered no serious injuries or loss of consciousness in the crash, as confirmed by both Nitta himself, and his INGING & Arnage Racing team – and Nitta plans to return for the second round of the championship at Fuji Speedway.
The incident occured on the 54th lap of the 81 lap race, lap 49 for the GT300 class. Nitta was running in 15th in his class at the time, having just taken over the controls of the Ferrari from co-driver Akihiro Tsuzuki.
As Nitta was negotiating traffic, he inadvertently sideswiped the GT500 class #64 Epson Modulo Honda NSX-GT of Bertrand Baguette into Williams Corner, pitching the Ferrari into a head-on collision with the concrete barrier at speeds approaching 200 kilometers per hour.
Nitta said in the post-race press release for INGING Motorsport that the first contact was the result of the Epson NSX-GT appearing in his blind spot.
Safety officials rushed to the stricken Ferrari, where they were able to extract the driver from the car, place him on a stretcher, and take him to the medical center via ambulance during a lengthy safety car period. The scenes were initially quite distressing to those watching at the track and on television, but fans at trackside did confirm that Nitta did gesture to the crowd before being taken to the medical centre.
Nitta told SuperGT.net in a post-race interview that he was conscious after the crash, but that the radio had broken upon impact, and was worried he could not confirm his status with the team.
After complaining initally of pain in his back and in his foot, Nitta left the medical centre at Okayama having sustained no serious injuries.
INGING & Arnage Racing team director Muneharu Ito has pledged that despite the serious damage to their Ferrari 488 GT3, that they will work to have the car repaired in time for the Fuji GT 500km Race on the Golden Week holiday of May 3-4.
Nitta has seven career GT300 class victories at Fuji Speedway, the last coming in the 2013 Fuji 500km in the apr Racing Toyota Prius.
NOTE: As part of our internal policy of standards and practices at Super GT World, and in alignment with the GT Association who did not feature the incident in their post-race highlights, we will not post photos or video footage of Nitta’s crash as part of our report on this story.