SUPER GT

[2020 Season Review] RAYBRIG NSX-GT makes dramatic comeback in final round to win championship

The NSX-GT, reborn to match Class-1 regulations, made a dramatic comeback in the season finale to win the 2020 championship. By the end of the first half of the season, championship prospects for the NSX-GTs were not good, as despite two wins from five rounds, the highest ranked NSX-GT was KEIHIN NS

[2020 Season Review] RAYBRIG NSX-GT makes dramatic comeback in final round to win championship

The development team was hard at work aiming for Round 6, Suzuka, well-suited to the NSX-GT, and mounted their challenge with the second, higher-performing engine for the season. NSX-GTs dominated the front row with ARTA NSX-GT #8 (Tomoki Nojiri / Nirei Fukuzumi) on pole and Modulo NSX-GT #64 (Takuya Izawa / Hiroki Otsu) second. ARTA NSX-GT #8 managed to survive a hectic race to finish third.


ARTA NSX-GT #8 third in Round 6
ARTA NSX-GT #8 third in Round 6

In Round 7, Twin Ring Motegi, a renewed vigor sees Modulo NSX-GT #64, ARTA NSX-GT #8 and RAYBRIG NSX-GT #100 (Naoki Yamamoto / Tadasuke Makino) dominate Qualifying. The NSX-GTs overcame long-distance pace issues as ARTA NSX-GT #8 won, Modulo NSX-GT #64 came in second, and RAYBRIG NSX-GT #100 was third. Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT #16 (Hideki Mutoh / Ukyo Sasahara) was fourth, and KEIHIN NSX-GT #17 fifth. All five NSX-GTs in the race had finished within the top five.

With one round in Fuji remaining, preparations were made. In the points standings, KEIHIN NSX-GT #17 was on top (#37 with equal championship points was ranked second due to less race wins), RAYBRIG NSX-GT #100 was two points down in fourth (#23 with equal points had better finishes), and a point behind was ARTA NSX-GT #8. These three teams were in contention to win the championship.

For the final round, weight handicaps accumulated throughout the season did not apply, allowing the racing cars to perform at their best. As race week began, #37 marked the fastest time during Qualifying, while Modulo NSX-GT #64 was the fastest NSX-GT in fifth, RAYBRIG NSX-GT “100 was seventh, ARTA NSX-GT #8 was 11th, KEIHIN NSX-GT #17 was 12th, and Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT #16 was 14th. The odds for an NSX-GT championship victory seemed to have dropped significantly.

In the championship-deciding race, however, seventh-grid starter RAYBRIG NSX-GT #100 (Makino) fought well, moveing up to second and 17 seconds behind the leader by Lap 21. Mid-race Yamamoto chipped away at the gap, and in the closing stages, was within striking distance of the race leader #37. Into the final lap, #37 and RAYBRIG NSX-GT #100 (Yamamoto) were running on fumes, but Yamamoto risked running out of gas and pushed hard. At the final turn, race-leading #37 slowed down, out of gas, and RAYBRIG NSX-GT #100 managed to take the lead, and the win.


RAYBRIG NSX-GT #100 wins final round
RAYBRIG NSX-GT #100 wins final round

The final turn of the final round gave RAYBRIG NSX-GT #100 (Yamamoto / Makino) the GT500 class championship.

The last time an NSX-GT won the championship was in 2018, and as a Class-1 car, 2020 was its first. KEIHIN NSX-GT #17 (Tsukakoshi / Baguette) ended the season third, and ARTA NSX-GT #8 (Nojiri / Fukuzumi) fifth.

For 2021, champions TEAM KUNIMITSU (Naoki Yamamoto / Tadasuke Makino) aim to defend the title, with their renumbered #1 NSX-GT. ARTA continue their challenge with Tomoki Nojiri and Nirei Fukuzumi. For TEAM Red Bull MUGEN, Okyo Sasahara will be joined by Toshiki Oyu.

REAL RACING will be continue to be represented by Koudai Tsukakoshi and Bertrand Baguette, but their name changes to Astemo REAL RACING. Modulo Nakajima Racing continue to race with Takuya Izawa and Hiroki Otsu.


Masahiro Saiki
Masahiro Saiki
Honda R&D Co., Ltd. Honda GT Project Leader
“Early in the season, there were times when we didn’t have the top speed at Fuji Speedway. Rules allowed us to update the engine once during the season, so we moved towards increasing peak power.
 
“The disadvantage was drivability, and to compensate, we would have to make use of anti-lag systems, which would reduce fuel efficiency. Considering the overall package, we opted not to go all out for peak power, but balance the improvements. This decision may have given us the championship in the final round. We won in 2020, but 2021 will be harder, so we’ll be working harder. We look forward to see you in 2021.”



Points

Pos.

No.

Drivers

Maschine

Points

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

1

100

Naoki Yamamoto
Tadasuke Makino

RAYBRIG NSX-GT

69

5

6

15

6

6

11

20

2

37

Ryo Hirakawa

KeePer TOM'S GR Supra

67

21

8

4

5

8

5

16

3

17

Koudai Tsukakoshi
Bertrand Baguette

KEIHIN NSX-GT

59

20

3

20

1

1

6

8

4

36

Yuhi Sekiguchi
Sacha Fenestraz

au TOM'S GR Supra

56

15

15

11

4

11

5

8

Tomoki Nojiri
Nirei Fukuzumi

ARTA NSX-GT

54

3

1

12

12

20

6

6

23

Tsugio Matsuda
Ronnie Quintarelli

MOTUL AUTECH GT-R

51

2

20

3

20

4

2

 

12

64

Takuya Izawa
Hiroki Otsu

Modulo NSX-GT

31

9

1

5

16

14

16

Hideki Mutoh
Ukyo Sasahara

Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT

25

1

11

5

8


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