On July 12-13, 13 teams representing Yokohama and Dunlop tyres took to Fuji International Speedway for a tyre test, with all three Yokohama Advan-clad GT500 teams and the sole Dunlop-clad #64 Epson Modulo Honda NSX-GT joined by nine other GT300 squads.
Standing on top of the GT500 order was the #24 Forum Engineering Advan Nissan GT-R of Daiki Sasaki and João Paulo de Oliveira, which led both days of testing and set the fastest outright time of the two-day test with a 1:30.101.
The Forum Engineering GT-R was fastest in both the morning and afternoon on Wednesday, setting their session-best 1:30.101 in the afternoon session. The #19 WedsSport Advan LC500 (Yuhi Sekiguchi/Yuji Kunimoto) was 2nd-quickest with a 1:30.791, with the #16 Motul Mugen NSX-GT (Hideki Mutoh/Daisuke Nakajima) 3rd at a 1:30.940, just ahead of the Epson NSX (Bertrand Baguette/Daisuke Nakajima) with a 1:31.017.
Thursday’s session was held under mostly wet conditions, and only a dry finish to the morning session allowed the Forum Engineering GT-R to set a fastest dry lap of 1:30.816. The afternoon session, which was entirely under wet conditions, was paced by the Motul Mugen NSX-GT and the Epson Modulo NSX-GT, with a 1:39.233 and a 1:39.948 respectively.
There was particular intrigue around the GT300 side of the garage, in particular as Steven Kane, factory Bentley Team M-Sport driver, got in his first test aboard the #117 EIcars Bentley Continental GT3.
Kane was brought in to help test and develop the car for EIcars Bentley TTO (Teramoto Technical Office) – their best time of the session was a 1:39.514, good enough for 8th in GT300 on Wednesday. Kane and team principal Hiroyuki Teramoto both came away from the test with positive impressions, however, a race seat isn’t confirmed for the 37-year-old Ulsterman in Super GT as of now. He remains committed to the Blancpain GT Series for the moment.
The other intriguing addition was that of Yuya Motojima to the lineup of the #33 D’station Porsche 911 GT3-R alongside Tomonobu Fujii. D’station Racing will be seeking a replacement for André Couto, who was injured in a crash in China and will be out of racing action for three months. Couto was signed to replace Sven Müller, who is honouring his prior racing commitments in Germany until after Round 5.
The 2015 Porsche Carrera Cup Japan champion Motojima has been serving as a third and reserve driver for Team JLOC in 2017, after spending his rookie season at Team Taisan SARD last year. The D’station Porsche was fastest in both Wednesday sessions in GT300. As of Friday, no announcement has been made regarding a formal substitute for Couto – but the rapid 26-year-old Motojima surely might be the safest bet in the field.
But the fastest lap of all in GT300 belonged to Nobuteru Taniguchi aboard the #4 Goodsmile Hatsune Miku Mercedes-AMG GT3, with a 1:38.371 set on the Thursday morning session.
Feature Image Credit: © Toshikazu Moriyama / AUTOSPORTweb