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.
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.
GT500 Race Result
|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
|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|
|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|
|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|