With the Suzuka 1000km classic no longer forming part of the Super GT championship, the series has moved to a 300km race instead, known as the Suzuka GT 300km Fan Festival. The race happens Sunday 20th May, with the lights going out at 06:40 BST and being covered live on tRL TV with thanks to NISMO TV.
Previous Race Recap
The Fuji 500km was not a classic but still threw up an interesting set of results. In GT500 Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli took their Motul Autech Nissan GT-R to the win on Toyota’s home ground, leading home 4 of their LC500’s by 9.7s
Honda cars had a very poor race, with the first of their cars coming home in 8th place, just over a minute off the lead – this despite the fact that the ARTA NSX-GT was carrying no weight handicap at all. I’m sure they will be looking to put that right as we head to their home circuit.
GT300 saw victory for the rather fantastic orange ARTA BMW M6 GT3 piloted by Shinichi Takagi and Sean Walkinshaw, a whopping 26s ahead of the Prius GT300 car.
Championship Standings + Weight Handicaps
Once again as a reminder, from round 2 onwards Success Ballast (known as “Weight Handicap”) is applied on the basis of 2kg per point earned.
In GT300 it will be a straight weight handicap, however, in GT500 it is done slightly differently, as a car will never carry more than 50kg of physical ballast. Once a car reaches this limit, they will start adding fuel flow restrictions, in accordance with the table below:
|Fuel Flow Restriction||95.0kg/h||91.8kg/h||88.6kg/h||85.5kg/h|
So as an example, after round 2 the #23 Motul Autech GT-R leads the championship with 26pts, which means 52kg of ballast – so they will be running with 35kg of physical ballast, but a reduced fuel flow restriction of 91.8kg/h, a reduction of 3.2kg/h. As a side note, all graphics will still refer to the 52kg of weight ballast.
Since the whole point of success ballast is to adjust the power to weight ratio and help level out the field, I think this is a great idea by GTA, as it achieves the same effect by adjusting the power side of that equation – and its certainly a lot greener than burning more fuel to haul the extra weight around the track!
|P||#||Team||Driver 1||Driver 2||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||P||WH|
|1||23||Motul Autech GT-R||Tsugio Matsuda||Ronnie Quintarelli||6||20||26||52|
|2||17||Keihin NSX-GT||Hirosuke Tsukagoshi||Takashi Kogure||21||21||42|
|3||100||Raybrig NSX-GT||Naoki Yamamoto||Jenson Button||15||2||17||34|
|4||1||KeePer TOM’s LC500||Ryo Hirakawa||Nick Cassidy||11||4||15||30|
|4||38||Zent Cerumo LC500||Yuji Tachikawa||Hiroaki Ishiura||3||12||15||30|
|4||39||Denso LC500||Heikki Kovalainen||Sho Tsuboi||15||15||30|
|7||6||Waiko’s 4CR LC500||Kazuya Oshima||Felix Rosenquist||8||6||14||28|
|8||36||au TOM’s LC500||James Rossiter||Yuhi Sekiguchi||8||8||16|
|9||24||Forum Engineering Advan GT-R||Joao Paulo de Oliveira||Mitsunori Takaboshi||5||5||10|
|9||3||Craftsports Motul GT-R||Satoshi Motoyama||Katsumasa Chiyo||4||1||5||10|
|9||12||Calsonic Impul GT-R||Taiki Sasaki||Jann Mardenborough||5||5||10|
|12||8||ARTA NSX-GT||Tomoki Nojiri||Takuya Izawa||3||3||6|
|13||19||WedsSport Advan LC500||Yuji Kunimoto||Kenta Yamashita||2||2||4|
|14||16||Motul Mugen NSX-GT||Hideki Mutoh||Daisuke Nakajima||1||1||2|
|P||#||Team||Driver 1||Driver 2||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||P||WH|
|1||55||Arta BMW M6 GT3||Shinichi Takagi||Sean Walkinshaw||5||21||26||52|
|2||18||Upgarage 86MC||Yuhki Nakayama||Takashi Kobayashi||20||20||40|
|2||7||D’Station Porsche||Tomonobu Fujii||Sven Muller||15||5||20||40|
|4||11||Gainer Tanax GT-R||Katsuyuki Hiranaka||Hironobu Yasuda||6||11||17||34|
|5||65||Leon Cvstos AMG||Haruki Kurosawa||Naoya Gamou||8||8||16||32|
|6||31||Toyota Prius apr GT||Koki Saga||Kohei Hirate||0||15||15||30|
|7||25||Hoppy 86MC||Takamitsu Matsui||Sho Tsuboi||11||11||22|
|8||0||Goodsmile Hatsune Miku AMG||Nobuteru Taniguchi||Tatsuya Kataoka||3||6||9||18|
|9||88||Manepa Lamborghini GT3||Kazuki Hiramine||Marco Mapelli||5||2||7||14|
|10||60||Syntium RCF GT3||Hiroki Yoshimoto||Ritomo Miyata||4||4||8|
|11||34||Modula Kenwood NSX GT3||Ryo Michigami||Hiroki Otsu||3||3||6|
|12||26||Taisan R8 Fukushima||Shinnosuke Yamada||Shintaro Kawabata||2||2||4|
|13||50||Exe AMG||Masaki Kano||Hideto Yasuoka||1||1||2|
|13||21||Hitotsuyama Audi R8 LMS||Richard Lyons||Ryuichiro Tomita||1||1||2|
The following BoP changes have been made to the cars in the GT300 categories, mainly revolving around minimum weights. Increases over the previous race are highlighted red, with decreases in green.
|Spec||Car||Min. Weight||BoP Weight||Boost Pressure|
|2018 GT3||Nissan GT-R||1285kg||+20kg|
|2018 GT3||BMW M6 GT3||1290kg||+35kg||Adjusted|
|2018 GT3||Porsche 991 GT3-R||1225kg||+35kg|
|2017 GT3||Honda NSX GT3||1240kg||+60kg||Adjusted|
|2017 GT3||Lexus RCF GT3||1300kg||+15kg|
|2016 GT3||AMG GT GT3||1285kg||+30kg|
|2016 GT3||Lamborghini Huracan GT3||1230kg||+60kg|
|2016 GT3||Audi R8 LMS GT3||1225kg||+45kg|
|2016 GT3||Bentley Continental GT3||1300kg||+/-0||Adjusted|
|2015 GT3||Nissan GT-R||1290kg||+10kg||Adjusted|
|JAF-GT300 MC||Toyota 86 MC||1100kg||+50kg|
|JAF-GT300 MC||Lotus Evora MC||1100kg||+50kg|
|JAF-GT300 MC||Toyota Mark X MC||1100kg||+50kg|
For GT500 I’m going to be all British and tip my fellow countryman and go for Jenson Button, with Naoki Yamamoto in the #100 Raybrig Honda NSX, to take victory at Honda’s home circuit. It’s not just because he’s British though – Jenson is familiar with the track from his time in F1 and has won here in that category. It was the venue for his Super GT debut in last years Suzuka 1000km, and in the recent (unballasted) test where he was fastest in both wet and dry conditions, setting an unofficial lap record in the process. Of course, this is a team sport, and co-driver Yamamoto is no slouch – and his confidence will be high around Suzuka having won the opening round of the Super Formula championship here just last month.
GT300 is a lot more difficult to call, but I’m going to go for the #61 R&D Sport Subaru BRZ. This is an impressive car, having a WRX engine mounted inside the Subaru BRZ, and drivers Tajuto Iguchi and Hideki Yamauchi were also quick here at the recent test, with the team topping the second session by 0.097s, and they will be keen to put the disappointment of retiring at the previous round behind them.
(All times Japanese Local)
Saturday 19th May – 14:35 to 15:10 – Knockout Qualifying 1 (Q1)
Saturday 19th May – 15:20 to 15:48 – Knockout Qualifying 2 (Q2)
Sunday 20th May – 13:05 to 13:25 – Warm Up
Sunday 20th May – 14:40 – Race (52laps) – LIVE on tRL TV.