JAPAN GT CHAMPIONSHIP R5 ANALYSIS AND UPDATES
10 September 2004
Lotterer pushed hard in the No.32 Honda NSX, charging up through the field from an eighth place start on the grid. The German Honda driver moved in behind Iida, taking up fourth by the third lap.
By lap nine, the top runners were coming up to the back markers, and when Wakisaka went to overtake, misjudgment sent him off the track. He managed to return unscathed, but the time off the circuit cost him the lead as he came back on in fourth place. In the confusion, Lotterer slipped by Iida to take second running just behind the new leader Motoyama. Not a full lap passed before Lotterer, driving with amazingly good form, passed the defending Driver’s Champion to take the lead. Lotterer was not the only one on the track creating thrills for fans: Courtney in the No.37 Supra, started from ninth on the first lap and brilliantly paced himself behind the No.32 NSX and settled into second, just slightly off the lead by lap 13. Teammate Tsuchiya, driving the No.36 Supra, worked his way into third by lap 19, but the battle of the Supras was on, and Iida overtook him on lap 20 to put the No.6 Supra back into third. This was followed by a side-by-side, tail-to-front mix-up between the two Supras for some 10 laps.
The leaders began making their routine pit stops for driver and tire changes around lap 30. When all were back out on the track, it was the No.37 Supra with Kataoka behind the wheel that was out in front. In order behind him were Matsuda in the No.32 NSX, Juichi Wakisaka in the No.6 Supra and Lyons in the No.1 Fairlady Z. Matsuda laid the pressure on heavily to the leader, doing everything he could to get passed, and he found the hole on lap 48, squeaking through and giving his Honda the lead. While the NSXs have been troubled with some hard races since the first of the year, it seemed as though the answers had been found as the No.32 car fought through the Nissans and Toyotas on its way to the front. Finally in the Matsuda set out to create a gap over Kataoka, who was still threatening immediately behind. And behind the young Toyota driver, the veteran Wakisaka in the No.6 Supra was rapidly catching up.
In the final stage of the race, a fantastic last minute effort by Lyons in the No.1 Fairlady Z brought him up to within striking distance of second and third running Kataoka and Wakisaka. With only a few laps remaining, Wakisaka overtook Kataoka to move into second. Lyons found a spot too, and moved into third immediately after. The No.6 and No.1 cars started closing the gap on the No.32 Honda, but Matsuda tried everything to hold them off, and the cars crossed the finish line in that order.
The No.36 Supra went off the track just after the routine pit stop, but a good effort by Apicella brought the car back up to finish fifth, just ahead of the No.39 Supra driven by Couto and Dufour; the No.39 Supra was imposed a drive-through penalty while Couto was behind wheel (collision with the No.100 car).
It was a near catastrophe for the No.43 Garaiya on the opening lap. Nitta put the car through as spin that dropped the car’s position to far back in the pack. Fortunately, he recovered the car gracefully and began to work his way back up through the field. Each lap seemed to be consistently quicker, and it wasn’t long before he was back into contention with the leaders.
Takeuchi and the No.52 Celica lead the GT300 class in the initial laps of the race, followed by Yamano in the No.16 NSX, Hoshino in the No.80 Fairlady Z and Matsuda in the No.11 Ferrari. Watanabe, driving the No.2 NSX with Korean Kumho tires, started from 20th on the grid and moved up quickly through the pack. The Kumho tires seemed to be very suitable for the slightly wet surface. The No.2 car overtook to move into third on lap 11, and kept going to overtake the No.16 M-Tec (Mugen) works Honda NSX for second. It seemed like there was no way to stop the Honda, and Watanabe found himself leading the class on lap 14 when Takeuchi took the No.52 Celica into the pits to change tires from wet to slick. The fantastic charge was not to payoff, however, as beginning mid-race the Honda began losing positions and failed to recover them in the final stages of the race.
It was Nitta, on the other hand that showed the ability to recover well and improve continuously during the latter part of the race. By lap 20 he was running in second and overtook the No.2 Honda on lap 24 to take the GT300 lead. And the Garaiya pace, assisted by BF Goodrich tires, did not slow down. Takagi took the wheel at the routine pit stop and finished the day leading the field, giving the team its second consecutive victory this season. Crossing the finish line second was the No.16 Honda NSX (Yamano and Yagi), and third went to the No.10 Ferrari (Tanaka and Yogo).
The Fairlady Zs ,while having monopolized the front row on the grid, were not able to keep the advantage, and slowly lost positions in the first half of the race. The No.80 car pitted to change to slicks on lap 10 when Hoshino was behind the wheel, and he battled hard back to fifth place before giving the wheel to Kinoshita. Kinoshita also overtook to improve the position even more, but a driveshaft problem on lap 52 brought their race to an end. The No.81 car driven by Yanagida and Omoto finished fourth.
|1||32||500-1||EPSON NSX||T.Matsuda||A.Lotterer||2:04’26.984||63 1’51.173 BS|
|2||6||500-2||ESSO Ultraflo Supra||J.Wakisaka||A.Iida||0’01.069||63 1’50.717 BS 40|
|3||1||500-3||Xanavi NISMO Z||S.Motoyama||R.Lyons||0’02.514||63 1’49.883 BS 40|
|4||37||500-4||DYNACITY TOM’S SUPRA||J.Courtney||T.Kataoka||0’14.957||63 1’51.321 BS 40|
|5||36||500-5||WOODONE TOM’S SUPRA||T.Tsuchiya||M.Apicella||0’41.410||63 1’50.937 BS 20|
|6||39||500-6||DENSO SARD SUPRA GT||J.Dufour||A.Couto||0’59.879||63 1’50.752 BS 50|
|7||3||500-7||G’ZOX SSR HASEMI Z||T.Kaneishi||E.Comas||1’16.058||63 1’51.666 BS 60|
|8||22||500-8||MOTUL PITWORK Z||M.Kageyama||M.Krumm||1’18.782||63 1’50.419 BS 100|
|9||100||500-9||RAYBRIG NSX||S.Nakano||H.Kato||1’46.056||63 1’51.348 BS|
|10||38||500-10||au CERUMO SUPRA||Y.Tachikawa||S.Ara||1’46.713||63 1’51.071 BS 40|
|11||8||500-11||ARTA NSX||K.Kaneishi||D.Ito||1||Lap||62 1’52.028 BS|
|12||25||500-12||ECLIPSE ADVAN SUPRA||M.Orido||D.Schwager||1||Lap||62 1’51.817 YH 20|
|13||35||500-13||Yellow Hat YMS Supra||N.Hattori||S.Wakisaka||2||Laps||61 1’48.537 DL 20|
|14||43||300-1||ARTA Garaiya||M.Nitta||S.Takagi||2:05’21.952||59 1’59.306 BF 35|
|15||16||300-2||M-TEC NSX||T.Yamano||H.Yagi||0’24.052||59 1’58.588 DL 80|
|16||10||300-3||JIM GAINER ADVAN F360||T.Tanaka||A.Yogo||1’01.787||59 1’59.263 YH 20|
|17||81||300-4||C-WEST DAISHIN ADVAN Z||M.Yanagida||N.Omoto||1||Lap||58 1’59.696 YH 20|
|18||5||300-5||Project µ B-1 Mach-Go GT320R||T.Tamanaka||G.Mifune||1||Lap||58 1’58.847 YH|
|19||30||300-6||RECKLESS MR-S||K.Sasaki||S.Goto||1||Lap||58 1’59.908 BF 10|
|20||9||300-7||ADVAN K-STADIUM MT||G.Shimizu||S.Hosokawa||1||Lap||58 2’00.480 YH|
|21||52||300-8||Project µ TaiyoSekiyu CELICA||H.Takeuchi||S.Nishizawa||1||Lap||58 2’00.118 DL|
|22||112||300-9||ARKTECH ADVAN GT3||G.Jyonai||K.Sawa||1||Lap||58 2’01.441 YH|
|23||51||300-10||NSC AUTO-STAFF ADVAN SILVIA||M.Kato||K.Tsutsui||2||Laps||57 2’00.864 YH|
|24||21||500-14||FERRARI 550GTS Maranello||H.Mitsusada||T.Uematsu||6||Laps||57 1’53.410 DL|
|25||77||300-11||CUSCO SUBARU ADVAN IMPREZA||K.Kobayashi||T.Tanigawa||2||Laps||57 1’59.911 YH|
|26||910||300-12||Takamizawa Seikotsuin ADVAN Porsche||K.Takamizawa||S.Jukucho||2||Laps||57 2’02.733|
|27||19||300-13||WedsSport CELICA||T.Aoki||N.Taniguchi||3||Laps||56 1’57.599 YH 25|
|28||2||300-14||Privée Zurich KUMHO NSX||K.Takahashi||A.Watanabe||3||Laps||56 2’02.523 KH|
|29||20||300-15||FK/Massimo ADVAN PORSCHE||H.Wada||T.Inoue||4||Laps||55 2’00.738 YH|
|30||17||300-16||ESPELIR Kosei CELLICA||M.Nagashima||M.Matsunaga||4||Laps||55 1’58.919 YH|
|31||80||300-17||ENDLESS DAISHIN ADVAN Z||M.Kinoshita||K.Hoshino||7||Laps||52 1’57.148 YH 30|
|32||70||300-18||Fields Gaikokuya ADVAN Porsche||Y.Ishibashi||Hiromi||9||Laps||50 2’05.195 YH|
|33||18||500-15||TAKATA DOME NSX||R.Michigami||S.Philippe||14||Laps||49 1’51.405 BS|
|34||63||300-19||LEYJUN DUNLOP 320R||OSAMU||H.Yoshimoto||14||Laps||45 1’59.228 DL 60|
|35||11||300-20||JIM RodeoDrive ADVAN F360||H.Matsuda||I.Suga||18||Laps||41 1’58.902 YH 30|
|Above Finished (GT500:44laps / GT300:41laps)|
|72||300||ADVAN BORO PORSCHE||A.Hirakawa||H.Fukuyama||21||Laps||38 2’01.272 YH|
|12||500||CALSONIC IMPUL Z||B.Treluyer||Y.Ide||28||Laps||35 1’54.302 BS 40|
|7||300||AMEMIYA ASPARADRINK RX7||S.Yamaji||H.Iiri||27||Laps||32 2’01.302 YH 40|
|26||300||Endless TAISAN ADVAN GT3R||Y.Yamagishi||K.Ijiri||35||Laps||24 2’01.474 YH|
|111||300||ARKTECH ENDLESS ADVAN GT4||H.Iijima||T.Ohi||51||Laps||8 2’13.967 YH|
|88||500||JLOC MURCIE RG-1||K.Yamanishi||WADA-Q||63||Laps||0 – DL|
|31||300||A’PEX i-mobisess MR-S||M.Tanaka||K.Matsuda||59||Laps||0 – BF 10|
The temperature was relatively cool for this time of the year (27 degrees Celsius, track temperature 25 degrees Celsius). Just as the morning session got underway, a drizzle began, slightly wetting parts of the circuit. Wipers were being used by a few cars on the track, but not all. Different from usual rounds where the bulk of the teams focus on their best qualifying times in the latter part of the session, the ensuing threat of rain had everyone out on their flying laps early on, and the car order on the timing monitor changed at a dizzying pace.
Motoyama in the No.1 Fairlady Z, Tachikawa in the No.38 Supra, Lotterer in the No.32 Honda NSX, Hattori in the No.35 Supra and Kato in the No.100 NSX all clocked quick times one after another. The weather and track conditions improved as time passed, so many of the drivers claimed their best laps during the time slot when both GT500 and GT300 cars were on the course. Courtney’s team put their second set of tires on the No.37 Supra midway through the session and got in a time of 1’47.292″. Treluyer put in a 1’47.078″ to put the No.12 Nissan at the top of the monitor, but Schwager, his No.25 Supra being the only Toyota running on Yokohama ADVAN tires, beat him out with a 1’46.927″, and clenched the fastest lap in the morning session.
The afternoon session was the site of some severe competition for pole position under delicate conditions with occasional light rain. The Honda drivers started out early challenging for the chance to sit first on the grid. Lotterer in the No.32 NSX showed a strong performance, and Michigami in the No.18 NSX stormed around the circuit as well. Next came some excellent laps by Nissan drivers. Motoyama, the defending Driver’s Champion, claimed the best Nissan time of the day (1’46.814″) in spite of slightly slippery conditions and a 40kg handicap weight. Then came the Supra driver hero of the day, Hattori. The only Dunlop tire user among the Supras, claimed a time of 1’46.700 to steal the pole away from Motoyama. Motoyama took to the track again, but only managed to drop his time to 1’46.708.
Authorization to move Hattori’s Supra up one level under the JAF performance enhancement regulations seemed to make the difference, as he quickened his best time even further in the closing minutes of the session, and finished the day in pole position with a final qualifying time of 1’46.698, a new circuit record. (The old record of 1’46.724″ was set by Hattori himself in a McLaren F1 GTR in 2002.)
When the time came for the GT300 class in the morning session, the sky brightened ever so slightly. Takeuchi tried for the qualifying lap in the No.52 Celica immediately after the green signal. He managed a best time of 1’55.478″. That wasn’t enough though, and only moments, the winner of the last round in Tokachi, Nitta took the No.43 Garaiya around the circuit in 1’54.512″. That time was then beat out by Kinoshita in the No.80 Fairlady Z, whose time of 1’53.720, gave him the provisionally pole. Repeating a scene from the JGTC official test sessions held in August, TEAM DASHIN’s second car, the No.81 Nissan Fairlady Z driven by Yanagida, claimed the best lap of the day, a quick 1’53.147″.
The conditions for the afternoon session were no better than those of the morning run. Even so, a few cars did improve on their times, but no one could touch the best morning time set by Yanagida. The best lap time in the afternoon came from Yamaji in the No.7 Mazda RX-7 (1’55.672″), followed by Sasaki in the No.31 Toyota MR-S (1’55.880″). At the end of the day, the pole position went to Masataka Yanagida-Naofumi Omoto in the No.81 Fairlady Z. A total of eight cars broke the previous circuit record for the GT300 class
JGTC China “All-Star” exhibition race canceled
2 September 2004
On 5 August, the GT-Association officially announced that the “All-Star” exhibition race slated for October 2004 in Zhuhai, China, has been canceled for reasons related to the Chinese organizer. Announced at the same time, however, is that the GT-A has already entered negotiations with the Shanghai Sport Association and Shanghai International Circuit for a race at the new Shanghai circuit in May 2005.
These activities have had no influence on the GT-A’s preparations for American All-Star race scheduled for 18-19 December in California, USA. The GT-A will announce the 25 cars selected for participation in the American All-Star race at Round 5, which is being held at Twin Ring Motegi on 4-5 September.