With this weekend’s round 5 SUPER GT race at Fuji Speedway being the first of the season held with a limited number of spectators in the stands, there were high hopes for some strong performances from the Nissan GT-Rs.
Things seemed to get off to a good start with the #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R starting from 2nd place on the grid. However, Daiki Sasaki slightly overshot the mark at the first corner while trying to pass the pole sitter and he briefly dropped down to 4th.
From there, all eyes turned to the #24 Realize corporation ADVAN GT-R, driven by Mitsunori Takaboshi, as he rapidly reeled in the race leader and then overtook him at Dunlop Corner to move into the top spot. Takaboshi went on to lead the race for the next 12 laps and, despite dropping down to 2nd in lap 13, remained steadfastly in the fight.
Jann Mardenborough continued their strong performance in the second stint. After taking the wheel, he returned to the track in 4th and pulled out a high-paced performance that had him panel-to-panel with the #100 NSX-GT in 3rd until he ultimately passed it on the inside of Coca Cola Corner. Unfortunately, steering issues would put a premature end to this valiant effort and the #24 fell out of the fight for the podium.
After the #12 GT-R’s misstep in the first lap, Sasaki rose back up to 3rd and was fiercely fighting again for a top position. However, he was handed a drive-through penalty in lap 14 for making a pass during a safety car dispatch earlier in the race. This forced them to fight back from the tail end but in the second stint Kazuki Hiramine was able to pull them back up as far as 8th before he passed the checkered flag.
After the race Sasaki related, “[Despite the setbacks] Hiramine’s hard work pulled us back into to the points sphere. We showed that the car has good pace and we’ll be fighting hard in the next race at Suzuka.”
In the GT300 class the #56 Realize Nissan Automobile Technical College GT-R NISMO GT3 took class victory, the second win of the season for the NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3 and the first GT300 victory for the team.
The next round of the SUPER GT will be held on October 25th at Suzuka Circuit.