October 16, 2023
5 min Reading
The #3 Nissan Z finished a close third in Round 7 of the SUPER GT on October 15 at Autopolis in Oita Prefecture.
Anticipation built as the race began and from the very first lap, the #3 Niterra MOTUL Z made its mark by advancing to the 8th position, showing promising early potential. At the same time, the #1 MARELLI IMPUL Z and #23 MOTUL AUTECH Z fought their way up to 11th and 13th positions, respectively. However, the #24 REALIZE CORPORATION ADVAN Z faced challenges, struggling to maintain pace and falling to 14th.
The unexpected weather conditions and the circuit's demanding nature on tires prompted strategic pit stops. Early in the race, after just eight laps, the #24 Z opted for an early pit stop to change tires and refuel. Subsequently, on lap 11, the #1 Z followed suit. The dynamics of the race shifted dramatically on lap 14 when a GT300 class car came to a halt, necessitating a full course yellow. When the race resumed on lap 15, the leading cars took the opportunity to pit. By lap 18, the #3 Z had surged to 6th place, capitalizing on its strategy, while the #23 Z, opting for a unique three-pit stop strategy, only required a tire change during its pit stop, boosting it to 6th position. Meanwhile, the #1 Z steadily climbed to 7th place due to the pit stops of other competitors.
The middle segment of the race saw the action intensify. By lap 48, the #3 Z was running in 4th place, closely followed by the #1 Z in 5th, the #24 Z in 8th, and the #23 Z in 13th. Pit strategies came into play again as some cars opted for their second pit stops around lap 49. At this time the #3 Z advanced to 3rd place, while the #1 Z climbed to 4th.
The peak of the race's action was in the final laps. The #1 Z, chasing hard, managed to overtake several competitors and reached 5th place by lap 91. In a fervent pursuit of the car in front, it managed to gain 4th place temporarily but overran the first corner of the last lap and had to settle for a 5th place finish.
Meanwhile, the #3 Z showcased an impressive performance, surging to 2nd position after overtaking rivals on laps 66 and 67. In a heated battle for the top spot, the car was momentarily overtaken at the second hairpin on the 77th lap, dropping to 3rd. Despite the fierce competition, the #3 Z demonstrated resilience and determination, finishing 3rd, just 0.38 seconds behind the 2nd placed finisher.
#23 Z finished in the points in 10th place while the #24 Z concluded the race in 12th.
The #3 Z now sits in 2nd in the series ranking with 62 points. The stage is now set for an epic showdown in the final round at Mobility Resort Motegi, where the Nissan/NISMO camp is determined to clinch a second consecutive Nissan Z GT500 championship title.
Reflecting on the race, #3 driver Katsumasa Chiyo said, “It was a tough race, but we had a competitive car and tires. Our strategy and decisions at each stage were correct.” Teammate, Mitsunori Takaboshi, added, “There is still a good chance that we can turn things around in the final round, so we will give it everything we have to take the championship.”
In the GT300 class, five Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 cars competed, with all five successfully completing the race. The #56 REALISE NISSAN MECHANIC CHALLENGE GT-R, which started from the 17th grid position, showcased its resilience and strategy, finishing an impressive 5th place. The #11 GAINER TANAX GT-R and #10 PONOS GAINER GT-R also displayed commendable performances, securing the 9th and 10th positions, respectively.
The final round of the SUPER GT 2023 will be held at Mobility Resort Motegi on November 5th.
Super Gt news