Suzuka 1000km Hour 1: ZENT RC-F charges to the lead

BMW Team Studie did not even take the green flag. The #7 Studie BMW M6 (Seiji Ara/Jorg Muller/Augusto Farfus) was ruled as a DNS due to a pre-race engine failure.

Hideki Mutoh led the GT500 field to green under a somewhat routine start in his #15 Drago Modulo NSX, save for Yuhi Sekiguchi going two wheels on the damp grass in the #19 WedsSport RC-F and having it not end in tears.

From 2nd on the grid, Koki Saga in the #31 Toyota Prius GT sunk like a stone after starting the race on wet tyres while all of his rivals started on slick tyres, pitting on lap 5 and putting them out of sequence.

12 laps into a fierce battle between Joao Paulo de Oliveira in the #12 Calsonic GT-R and Yuji Tachikawa in the #38 ZENT Cerumo RC-F, Tachikawa used a bump draft to overhaul the Calsonic GT-R for third place in the first corner.

Things were looking good for the #46 S Road GT-R until it began to rapidly lose track position after being overtaken by Tachikawa for 2nd. Satoshi Motoyama pitted the GT-R on lap 16 to give the car to Mitsunori Takaboshi.

Just a few moments later, the #24 Forum Engineering GT-R (Masataka Yanagida) and the #6 Wako’s RC-F (Andrea Caldarelli) tangled in the S Curves, leaving the Forum Eng. GT-R stuck in the gravel, losing over a lap. More time was lost when Yanagida tried to get the car back on track, only to steer the car back into the gravel.

Tachikawa continued to put the pressure on Mutoh, finally taking the lead at the Casio Triangle on lap 22 as the tyres on the Drago NSX began to fall away.

Mutoh gave up 2nd to Oliveira out of Spoon Curve on lap 26, pitting the car that lap to hand the car over to co-driver Oliver Turvey.

Tachikawa pitted the leading ZENT RC-F from the lead on Lap 28, handing the car to Hiroaki Ishiura. Two laps later, the Calsonic GT-R pitted, Oliveira handing the car over to Hironobu Yasuda.

There was drama on lap 26 for the GT300 front runners. As the Subaru BRZ (Takuto Iguchi) and Gainer GT-R (Ryuchiro Tomita) exited the pits together, Tomita hit Iguchi in the S Curves, spinning the BRZ which suffered almost no damage despite gently nudging the tyre barriers. One lap later, the class-leading #18 Upgarage 86 MC pitted, pole winner Yuhki Nakayama handing over to Shinnosuke Yamada.

Running Order after 31/173 laps

GT500

1st: #38 ZENT RC-F (Tachikawa/Ishiura)

2nd: #12 Calsonic GT-R (Yasuda/Oliveira)

3rd: #46 S Road GT-R (Motoyama/Takaboshi)

4th: #19 WedsSport RC-F (Sekiguchi/Kunimoto)

5th: #15 Drago NSX (Mutoh/Turvey)

 

GT300

1st: #2 Syntium Lotus (Takahashi/Katoh/Makino)

2nd: #33 Excellence Porsche (Yamano/Sakamoto)

3rd: #25 VivaC 86 (Tsuchiya/Matsui/Yamashita)

4th: #21 Hitotsuyama Audi R8 (Fujii/Lyons)

5th: #48 Dijon GT-R (Takamori/Tanaka/Aoki)

 

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Mutoh’s record lap secures pole for Honda at Suzuka 1000km

Fastest in the official tests in July, fastest in this morning’s practice, and now, Hideki Mutoh is the fastest man in Super GT at the Suzuka Circuit – and has taken a very popular pole position for the 45th International Suzuka 1000km at the wheel of a Honda NSX.

Mutoh and co-driver Oliver Turvey were the fastest men in both phases of qualifying, with Turvey pacing Q1, and Mutoh going quickest in Q2 with a record lap time of 1:47.456 – a record that, thanks to the changes in GT500 regulations next year, is likely to stand for a significant period of time.

It is the first pole position for the Drago Modulo Honda Racing team, run by Ryo Michigami, himself a three-time Suzuka 1000km winner as a driver. It’s also Mutoh’s first-ever pole-winning lap as a GT500 driver.  Continue reading Mutoh’s record lap secures pole for Honda at Suzuka 1000km

Upgarage 86 takes GT300 pole at Suzuka

The Mooncraft Engineering-built Lotus Evora looked poised to romp to a second straight Suzuka 1000km pole position, but in the end, a perfect lap from Yuhki Nakayama in Q2 saw his Dome-constructed Upgarage Toyota 86 MC go to GT300 class pole for the 45th International Suzuka 1000km.

Nakayama and rookie teammate Shinnosuke Yamada took Team Upgarage with Bandoh’s first-ever pole position in Super GT, leading an all-Toyota front row, and a lockout of positions 1 through 5 for JAF-GT300 cars.

The first phase of qualifying was highlighted by a sensational lap by Super GT newcomer Tadasuke Makino, who aboard the #2 Syntium Apple Lotus, set a new GT300 class lap record around Suzuka.

Continue reading Upgarage 86 takes GT300 pole at Suzuka

Drago NSX, Syntium Lotus lead Suzuka 1000km practice

Mid-engined cars paced the Saturday practice session for the 45th International Suzuka 1000km. The #15 Drago Modulo Honda NSX-GT (Hideki Mutoh/Oliver Turvey) went fastest in GT500, while the GT300 class was led by the #2 Syntium Apple Lotus Evora MC (Kazuho Takahashi/Hiroki Katoh/Tadasuke Makino).

Mutoh set the Drago NSX’s fastest time of the day, a 1:47.910, mid-way through the 1 hour, 45 minute practice session. It was just three-tenths off the GT500 lap record set in 2015 by Ronnie Quintarelli. The Drago NSX led a Honda 1-2 at their home track of Suzuka, with the #100 Raybrig NSX-GT (Naoki Yamamoto/Takuya Izawa) second fastest thanks to Yamamoto’s 1:48.071 lap set in the final ten minutes. Continue reading Drago NSX, Syntium Lotus lead Suzuka 1000km practice

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