Race
SUPER GT 2021
Round 1

Astemo NSX-GT Fifth in SUPER GT Okayama Season-Opener

jp Okayama International Circuit

Round 1 of the 2021 SUPER GT Series kicked the season off at Okayama International Circuit (Okayama, Japan) on the weekend of April 10 - 11. Five NSX-GTs raced in the GT500 class, and three NSX GT3s were entered in the GT300 class.

Astemo NSX-GT Fifth in SUPER GT Okayama Season-Opener

Last season, the new Class 1 regulations necessitating a drastic change to an FR layout, combined with COVID-19 hampering development efforts, caused several setbacks for the NSX-GT, but yet it won the series. This season, changes to the aerodynamics are prohibited, so the car looks the same, but engine performance and settings-wise, progress was made, evident at the off-season joint tests.

Each year, the average speed of GT500 racing cars has been increasing. The Okayama International Circuit, absent from last season’s calendar, was run without weight handicaps, necessitating measures to decrease speed. For GT500 cars, fuel flow restrictions were decreased from 95.0kg/h to 90.2kg/h, and a special BoP was applied to restrict engine output. In the GT300 class, weight handicaps were applied according to vehicle category.

In the 105-minute practice session held on the Saturday morning under clear skies, the NSX-GTs performed well, with ARTA NSX-GT #8 (Tomoki Nojiri /Nirei Fukuzumi), Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT #16 (Ukyo Sasahara / Toshiki Oyu) and STANLEY NSX-GT #1 (Naoki Yamamoto / Hideki Mutoh) finishing the session first through third respectively. The #1 car, last year’s winner, had planned to be driven by the same drivers, but due to Tadasuke Makino falling ill, Mutoh filled in as Yamamoto’s partner.

After the practice session and lunchtime, the track temperature continued to rise, and by the time the GT500 Q1 session began at 2:33 pm, it was uncomfortably hot. The change in track conditions worked against the NSX-GTs, Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT #16 (Toshiki Oyu) and Modulo NSX-GT #64 (Hiroki Otsu) being the only two making it into the Q2 session, fifth and sixth respectively. The NSX-GTs did not improve in Q2, Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT #16 (Sasahara) finishing sixth, and Modulo NSX-GT #64 (Takuya Izawa) seventh. #16’s lap time was discounted due to a off-track infringement, leaving Modulo NSX-GT #64 and Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT #16 sixth and seventh on the starting grid.

The weather kept up on the following day. The 82-lap race started in humid conditions at 1:30 pm. At the end of the opening lap, Modulo NSX-GT #64 (Izawa) was sixth, Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT#16 (Sasahara) was eighth, and Astemo NSX-GT #17 (Bertrand Baguette) was ninth.

Baguette’s pace was good in the opening laps, taking him up to seventh, the leading NSX-GT, and positioned him to aim higher up. On Lap 33, a GT300 car stopped on the track, bringing in the safety car, triggering a flurry of cars entering the pit lane for tires and fuel. At this stage, Astemo NSX-GT #17 (Koudai Tsukakoshi) was up to sixth, closing in on the frontrunners.

On Lap 68, Astemo NSX-GT #17 (Tsukakoshi) took the inside at the end of the back straight to move up to fifth, and despite a determined effort to move further up, the #17 car crossed the finish line fifth, the best performance from an NSX-GT. ARTA NSX-GT #8 (Fukuzumi) was seventh from a 14th place start, and STANLEY NSX-GT #1 (Yamamoto) was eighth from an 11th place start. These three were within the points.


Koudai Tsukakoshi
Koudai Tsukakoshi 17
Astemo REAL RACING
This weekend didn’t go as smoothly as planned, and we had to try many setups for the car. As a result, we were a close 9th on the grid. The mechanics worked into the night with the data we gathered, so the car felt the best it had all weekend for the race. I’m not satisfied with fifth, but we managed to solve a nagging issue, which puts us in a better position for the next race. Round 2 at Fuji is a long race (500 km), and we did well there last year so we’re confident.

Bertrand Baguette
Bertrand Baguette 17
Astemo REAL RACING
I thought we could have qualified better, so I was surprised that we were only ninth. I really thought we could do better. We were on hard compounds though, so I thought we would do better in the race. The start was good, but we couldn’t find a better pace, and it was difficult. I’m satisfied we finished the race fifth. We’ll analyze what happened this weekend at Okayama, and find some solutions to come back stronger at Fuji.

Masahiro Saiki
Masahiro Saiki
Honda R&D Co., Ltd. Honda GT Project Leader
We may not have been able to fine-tune the cars enough as we hadn’t raced here last season. Qualifying didn’t go too well, so our cars had to deal with a lot of traffic during the race, and couldn’t find their own pace. Despite the hectic race, all NSX-GTs finished, and three were in the points, so I’m looking forward to the coming races. It was a tough race, but we found a number of directions to head, so I’m looking forward to how we evolved in the coming races.

GT500 Race Result

Pos.

Num.

Machine

Driver

Time/Gap

1

14

ENEOS X PRIME GR Supra

Kazuya Oshima/Kenta Yamashita

2:06'55.425

2

36

au TOM'S GR Supra

Yuhi Sekiguchi/Sho Tsuboi

+1.187

3

37

KeePer TOM'S GR Supra

Ryo Hirakawa/Sena Sakaguchi

+13.621

4

39

DENSO KOBELCO SARD GR Supra

Heikki Kovalainen/Yuichi Nakayama

+30.142

5

17

Astemo NSX-GT

Koudai Tsukakoshi/Bertrand Baguette

+30.562

6

38

ZENT CERUMO GR Supra

Yuji Tachikawa/Hiroaki Ishiura

+31.677

7

8

ARTA NSX-GT

Tomoki Nojiri/Nirei Fukuzumi

+32.171

8

1

STANLEY NSX-GT

Naoki Yamamoto/Hideki Mutoh

+32.929

11

16

Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT

Ukyo Sasahara/Toshiki Oyu

+52.960

13

64

Modulo NSX-GT

Takuya Izawa/Hiroki Otsu

+1Lap


GT300 Race Result

Pos.

Num.

Machine

Driver

Time/Gap

1

56

Realize Nissan Automobile Technical College GT-R

Kiyoto Fujinami/Joao Paulo de Oliveira

2:07'21.752

2

65

LEON PYRAMID AMG

Naoya Gamou/Togo Suganami

+0.454

3

52

SAITAMA TOYOPET GB GR Supra GT

Hiroki Yoshida/Kohta Kawaai

+0.660

4

11

GAINER TANAX GT-R

Katsuyuki Hiranaka/Hironobu Yasuda

+1.021

5

244

Takanoko-no-yu GR Supra GT

Atsushi Miyake/Yuui Tsutsumi

+16.908

6

96

K-tunes RC F GT3

Morio Nitta/Hibiki Taira

+35.977

11

18

UPGARAGE NSX GT3

Takashi Kobayashi/Teppei Natori

+1Lap

16

34

Yogibo NSX GT3

Ryo Michigami/Shogo Mitsuyama

+1Lap

26

55

ARTA NSX GT3

Shinichi Takagi/Ren Sato

+8Laps


GT500 Standing

Pos.

Num.

Driver

Machine

Pts

1

14

Kazuya Oshima/Kenta Yamashita

ENEOS X PRIME GR Supra

20

2

36

Yuhi Sekiguchi/Sho Tsuboi

au TOM'S GR Supra

15

3

37

Ryo Hirakawa/Sena Sakaguchi

KeePer TOM'S GR Supra

12

4

39

Heikki Kovalainen/Yuichi Nakayama

DENSO KOBELCO SARD GR Supra

8

5

17

Koudai Tsukakoshi/Bertrand Baguette

Astemo NSX-GT

6

6

38

Yuji Tachikawa/Hiroaki Ishiura

ZENT CERUMO GR Supra

5

7

8

Tomoki Nojiri/Nirei Fukuzumi

ARTA NSX-GT

4

8

1

Naoki Yamamoto/Hideki Mutoh

STANLEY NSX-GT

3


GT300 Standing

Pos.

Num.

Driver

Machine

Pts

1

56

Kiyoto Fujinami/Joao Paulo de Oliveira

Realize Nissan Automobile Technical College GT-R

20

2

65

Naoya Gamou/Togo Suganami

LEON PYRAMID AMG

15

3

52

Hiroki Yoshida/Kohta Kawaai

SAITAMA TOYOPET GB GR Supra GT

11

4

11

Katsuyuki Hiranaka/Hironobu Yasuda

GAINER TANAX GT-R

9

5

244

Atsushi Miyake/Yuui Tsutsumi

Takanoko-no-yu GR Supra GT

6

6

96

Morio Nitta/Hibiki Taira

K-tunes RC F GT3

5



Published on

Get the latest straight to your inbox.
Sign up right here.