During the Fuji GT 500km Race meeting at Fuji International Speedway, the Autobacs Super GT Series was supported by the FIA F4 Japanese Championship, and the Porsche Carrera Cup Japan for the annual running of the Golden Week race.
The theme of the weekend was dominant results for two talented youngsters. Reigning Japanese F4 champion Ritomo Miyata got his title defense back underway with two victories in Rounds 3 and 4 on Wednesday and Thursday, putting the 17-year-old Toyota young driver back atop the points standings.
In Porsche Carrera Cup Japan, 19-year-old Philip Hamprecht made the most of a one-off outing in the Mobil 1 Challenge, taking two wire-to-wire victories from pole position.
In FIA F4, 18-year-old Toshiki Oyu (HFDP Racing) took his first pole position of 2017, but a mistake at the hairpin corner at Turn 1 cost him the victory as Miyata swooped right in on lap 9 to take the lead, and despite pressure from Oyu, Miyata held on to take his first victory of the 2017 season by 0.6 seconds.
Championship leader Ukyo Sasahara (HFDP Racing) finished third in Round 3, but gave up ground in the championship to Miyata, who would start Round 4 from pole position on Thursday morning.
Once again, the HFDP Racing drivers would keep things close, but Miyata led the second of two 15-lap races wire-to-wire, taking his second win of the season. Oyu and Sasahara finished second and third, just as they did in Round 3.
Following his write-off weekend at Suzuka in the All-Japan Formula 3 Championship, Miyata’s double victory at Fuji gives the TOM’s Spirit driver a three-point lead in the championship over Sasahara, 76-73. Yuki Tsunoda holds a four-point edge over his HFDP Racing teammate Oyu for third in the championship, 50-46, as the series heads to Autopolis for rounds 5 and 6.
Philip Hamprecht, the reigning Formula Master China champion and Porsche Carrera Cup Asia rookie, entered as a reserve driver in Rounds 3 & 4 of the Japanese Porsche Carrera Cup – and the young German didn’t disappoint, scoring victories from pole in both races during the weekend.
Round 3 on Wednesday was marred by a seven-car crash on the opening lap that took out several cars, including championship leader Yuichi Mikasa. That brought out a safety car, several teams changed tyres, and Hamprecht made a perfect restart to go on to take his first Porsche Carrera Cup competition victory.
Gentleman class winner Shinji Takei was second overall, and fellow PCCA wildcard Yuan Bo finished third amidst the early chaos.
Hamprecht fended off the challenge again on Thursday morning, capitalizing on a first-lap mistake from Porsche scholarship driver Yuta Kamimura to run off into the lead and take his second win of the weekend. Once again, Takei won the Gentleman class and finished second overall – his fourth class victory of the season – and Kamimura held on to finish third overall, salvaging some points after a difficult first race that ended due to a gearbox failure, and gaining ground on Mikasa.
Rounds 5 & 6 of the 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup Japan will once again come from Fuji Speedway on June 2-4, during the One Make Race Festival – as well as the third and fourth rounds of the Asia championship.