Round 5

STANLEY NSX-GT Second, Astemo NSX-GT Third at SUGO

jp Sportsland SUGO

Round 5 of the 2021 SUPER GT Series was held at the Sportsland SUGO in Miyagi, over the September 11 - 12 weekend. Five NSX-GTs and three NSX GT3s ran in the GT500 and GT300 classes respectively.

STANLEY NSX-GT Second, Astemo NSX-GT Third at SUGO

This year’s SUGO round was the first time for the new Class 1 FR-layout NSX-GTs, as last year’s event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Three cars were fitted with their second “Spec-2 engines” for this season, which are allowed under regulations.

The qualifying sessions were held under cloudy skies, and despite the dry conditions, the ambient and track temperatures were significantly lower than the previous day. Of the NSX-GTs in the 2:30 pm Q1 session, Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT #16 (Ukyo Sasahara), Modulo NSX-GT #64 (Hiroki Otsu), ARTA NSX-GT #8 (Tomoki Nojiri) and Astemo NSX-GT #17 (Koudai Tsukakoshi) made it into Q2. Championship leader STANLEY NSX-GT #1 (Tadasuke Makino), with the heaviest success ballast of all cars, was mostly absent from free practice to iron out issues found at the beginning of the session, and could not make it into Q2.

ARTA NSX-GT #8 (Nirei Fukuzumi) was fastest in Q2, giving the team pole position. NSX-GTs dominated the front row grid with Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT #16 (Toshiki Oyu) qualifying second. Astemo NSX-GT #17 (Bertrand Baguette) was fourth fastest, while Modulo NSX-GT #64 (Takuya Izawa) was sixth on the grid.

On race day, the sun shone bright, raising both ambient and track temperatures. The race sarter with ARTA NSX-GT #8 (Nojiri) pulling away from the pack. From fourth on the grid, Astemo NSX-GT #17 (Baguette) moved up through the field, at one point right behind Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT #16 (Oyu), giving the top three spots to NSX-GTs.

As ARTA NSX-GT #8 (Nojiri) continued to dominate, Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT #16 (Oyu) had difficulty finding pace, causing heavy congestion behind the race leader. As one-third of the race passed and cars began to pit for driver changes, the NSX-GTs no longer dominated the top-3, with the #12 car running in second place.

ARTA NSX-GT #8 (Fukuzumi) left the traffic jam far behind, leading by more than 10 seconds. Despite less than optimal pace due to the heaviest success ballast and fuel flow restrictor settings, 10th place starter STANLEY NSX-GT #1 (Makino) drove an economic first half, and through minimizing pit time, allowed Naoki Yamamoto to take the #1 car to fourth on track.

ARTA NSX-GT #8 (Fukuzumi) had problems in the pits with tire changes, resulting in a drive-through penalty, which severely hindered the teams chances of winning. As soon the the penalty was announced, a car on track caught on fire, requiring the safety car to enter. In the late stages of the race, the #12 car took the lead, chased by Astemo NSX-GT #17 (Tsukakoshi) and STANLEY NSX-GT #1 (Yamamoto).

With one turn remaining, the #14 car stopped triggering a full course yellow. As the race resumed, STANLEY NSX-GT #1 (Yamamoto) out-accelerated Astemo NSX-GT #17 (Tsukakoshi), taking second place. All other NSX-GTs finished within the championship points. Yamamoto leads the championship, while Makino defends second place, leading into the final stages of the season.

Masahiro Saiki
Masahiro Saiki
HRC SGT Large Project Leader
It was a hectic race. It’s a shame that despite leading the race with dominating pace, the #8 car could not win due to a pit violation. The #1 car drove a fuel efficient first half, allowing them to gain places because of their short pit stop, and finished second, which is huge. This places them in a very good position in the championship with three races remaining. They finished second despite the heavy success ballast, because of the drivers and team bringing out the full potential of the car, which is excellent. We’ll be giving it everything for the last three races.

Naoki Yamamoto
Naoki Yamamoto 1
Nobody thought we could finish second. I think it wasn’t just that we were fast, but everyone else seemed slow. Considering the first stint, we knew it would be a hard race, but we gained places by needing less fuel in the pits, and the tires were warmed up well, so I pushed hard as soon as I was back on the track. I was on the same tires as Makino, but being ten degrees (Celsius) cooler seemed to help a lot. The safety car and FCY worked to our advantage, and we’re fighting the #17 car for the championship, so I was determined to get out on the track ahead of them. We not only kept our championship lead, but managed to extend it, so I think it was a good race.

Tadasuke Makino
Tadasuke Makino 1
We had problems at the beginning of the free practice session yesterday, but the team did a great job of fixing it, which I could confirm during the GT500 class session. We didn’t make it to Q2, which is a shame, but the car was driving well. I managed to gain a place at the start of the race, but conserved fuel for my stint. It was tough because the success ballast worked against us while driving with the GT300s, and the tires picked up a lot of rubber, reducing my pace. Our plan from the start was to pit as soon as possible, so I think I did a good job. The remaining races will be tough, but we’re in it to win.

GT500 Race Result

Pos. Num. Machine Driver Laps Time/Gap
1 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R Kazuki Hiramine/Nobuharu Matsushita 83 1:56'41.101
2 1 STANLEY NSX-GT Naoki Yamamoto/Tadasuke Makino 83 +08.511
3 17 Astemo NSX-GT Koudai Tsukakoshi/Bertrand Baguette 83 +11.145
4 36 au TOM’S GR Supra Yuhi Sekiguchi/Sho Tsuboi 83 +12.437
5 39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD GR Supra Heikki Kovalainen/Yuichi Nakayama 83 +12.596
6 24 Realize corporation ADVAN GT-R Mitsunori Takaboshi/Daiki Sasaki 83 +24.626
8 64 Modulo NSX-GT Takuya Izawa/Hiroki Otsu 83 +30.822
9 16 Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT Ukyo Sasahara/Toshiki Oyu 83 +42.921
10 8 ARTA NSX-GT Tomoki Nojiri/Nirei Fukuzumi 81 +2Laps

GT300 Race Result

Pos. Num. Machine Driver Laps Time/Gap
1 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT Takuto Iguchi/Hideki Yamauchi 78 1:56'55.821
2 55 ARTA NSX GT3 Shinichi Takagi/Ren Sato 78 +11.442
3 56 Realize Nissan Automobile Technical College GT-R Kiyoto Fujinami/Joao Paulo de Oliveira 78 +13.633
4 87 GRANSEED LAMBORGHINI GT3 Kosuke Matsuura/Natsu Sakaguchi 78 +32.560
5 60 SYNTIUM LMcorsa GR Supra GT Hiroki Yoshimoto/Shunsuke Kohno 78 +41.972
6 34 Yogibo NSX GT3 Ryo Michigami/Shogo Mitsuyama 78 +52.372
12 18 UPGARAGE NSX GT3 Takashi Kobayashi/Teppei Natori 77 +1Lap

GT500 Standing

Pos. Num. Driver Machine Pts
1 1 Naoki Yamamoto STANLEY NSX-GT 55
2 1 Tadasuke Makino STANLEY NSX-GT 52
3 17 Koudai Tsukakoshi/Bertrand Baguette Astemo NSX-GT 41
4 36 Yuhi Sekiguchi/Sho Tsuboi au TOM'S GR Supra 40
5 14 Kazuya Oshima/Kenta Yamashita ENEOS X PRIME GR Supra 35
6 12 Kazuki Hiramine/Nobuharu Matsushita NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT500 28
13 8 Tomoki Nojiri/Nirei Fukuzumi ARTA NSX-GT 15
14 16 Ukyo Sasahara/Toshiki Oyu Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT 12
16 64 Takuya Izawa/Hiroki Otsu Modulo NSX-GT 5
17 1 Hideki Mutoh STANLEY NSX-GT 3

GT300 Standing

Pos. Num. Driver Machine Pts
1 61 Takuto Iguchi/Hideki Yamauchi SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT 39
2 56 Kiyoto Fujinami/Joao Paulo de Oliveira Realize Nissan Automobile Technical College GT-R 38
3 244 Atsushi Miyake/Yuui Tsutsumi Takanoko-no-yu GR Supra GT 36
4 55 Shinichi Takagi/Ren Sato ARTA NSX GT3 30
5 60 Hiroki Yoshimoto/Shunsuke Kohno SYNTIUM LMcorsa RC F GT3 29
6 11 Katsuyuki Hiranaka/Hironobu Yasuda GAINER TANAX GT-R 26
19 34 Ryo Michigami/Shogo Mitsuyama Yogibo NSX GT3 5
20 18 Takashi Kobayashi/Teppei Natori UPGARAGE NSX GT3 3

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