The 2021 SUPER GT series was contested over eight rounds at six venues across Japan. In the GT500 class, Honda was represented by five teams, including last season’s winner STANLEY NSX-GT #1 (Naoki Yamamoto / Tadasuke Makino).
Defending Champion Takes the Early Stage Lead
Toyoya dominated the opening round held at the Okayama International Circuit, with Honda’s best result being Astemo NSX-GT #17 (Koudai Tsukakoshi / Bertrand Baguette)’s fifth place. In the following round at Fuji Speedway, Astemo NSX-GT turned an 11th place grid into victory. In Round 4, Twin Ring Motegi held in place of a postponed Round 3, STANLEY NSX-GT won from pole position, and was the best Honda result in Round 3, Suzuka, finishing fourth. At the end of the first half of the 2021 SUPER GT season, STANLEY NSX-GT‘s Yamamoto led the championship with 40 points, and teammate Makino, who missed the opening round, was second with 37 points. Astemo NSX-GT (Tsukakoshi / Baguette) was fifth with 30 points.
ARTA Emerges as Championship Contender with Two Straight Wins
Round 5 was held at Sportsland SUGO. ARTA NSX-GT #8 (Tomoki Nojiri / Nirei Fukuzumi) took pole position and was sailing through the first half of the race, but was penalized for pit work violations. STANLEY NSX-GT, tenth on the grid, charged through the field to finish second.
Round 6 was held at Autopolis over the October 23 - 24 weekend. Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT #16 (Ukyo Sasahara / Toshiki Oyu) took pole, and led the race with Modulo NSX-GT and ARTA NSX-GT in chase. The top 3 domination by Honda was interrupted on Lap 18 when frontrunner Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT’s right rear tire fell off, ending the team’s race. ARTA NSX-GT took over the lead, and went unchallenged to win the 65 lap race.
Round 7 was held at Twin Ring Motegi. ARTA NSX-GT started on P3 and moved up to second, chasing the #12 car. On the final lap, ARTA NSX-GT finally took the lead, and the win, from the #12 car when it stopped after running out of fuel. Although STANLEY NSX-GT (Yamamoto / Makino) did not score any points, Yamamoto’s 60 points kept him first in the standings. ARTA NSX-GT‘s two wins took the team up to third overall with 55 points. Astemo NSX-GT was close behind with 52 points, giving Honda the top three overall spots heading into the final round.
Accident with Ten Laps Left
The season finale was held at Fuji Speedway on the November 27 - 28 weekend. The long straight is not best suited to the NSX-GTs which thrive on sharp handling through the corners. But, STANLEY NSX-GT was second fastest in Qualifying, keeping the hope of defending the championship alive. Although ARTA NSX-GT proceeded to Q2 in sixth place, championship-contender Astemo NSX-GT could only qualify tenth.
Once the race started, STANLEY NSX-GT moved back to fourth, allowing rival cars with better straightline speed to move ahead. On paper, STANLEY NSX-GT could win the championship by finishing sixth or better. With ten laps to go, STANLEY NSX-GT was hit from the inside of Turn 1 on Lap 51, damaging the right front end. The team pitted, but lost places, allowing the #36 car to win the race and championship.
ARTA NSX-GT, ranked second going into the final round, had problems in the pits as a door came unhinged. Despite making up time to finish sixth, the best of the NEX-GTs, the team could not match the #36 car’s points, and finished second overall.
Although Honda missed out on retaining the title at the very last minute, the NSX-GT won four rounds, the best out of the three manufacturers, and led most of the season. Even Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT #16 and Modulo NSX-GT #64, who did not win this season, had pole positions as their achievements.
|1||36|| Yuhi Sekiguchi
|au TOM'S GR Supra||64|
|2||8|| Tomoki Nojiri
|3||1||Naoki Yamamoto||STANLEY NSX-GT||60|
|4||1||Tadasuke Makino||STANLEY NSX-GT||57|
|ENEOS X PRIME GR Supra||52|
|6||17|| Koudai Tsukakoshi
|16||16|| Ukyo Sasahara
|Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT||20|
|18||64|| Takuya Izawa
|19||1||Hideki Mutoh||STANLEY NSX-GT||3|
|SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT||67|
Joao Paulo de Oliveira
|Realize Nissan Automobile Technical College GT-R||55|
|SYNTIUM LMcorsa GR Supra GT||49|
|ARTA NSX GT3||45|
|Takanoko-no-yu GR Supra GT||44|
|LEON PYRAMID AMG||43|
|Yogibo NSX GT3||5|
|UPGARAGE NSX GT3||4|