Race
SUPER GT 2022
Round 1

STANLEY NSX-GT takes 2nd place podium finish in season opener

jp Okayama International Circuit

April 16 (Sat) - 17 (Sun) — The first round of the 2022 Super-GT series was held at Okayama International Circuit (Okayama Pref.) and five NSX-GT cars of the latest 2022 spec and three NSX-GT3 cars participated in the GT500 and GT300 class respectively.

STANLEY NSX-GT takes 2nd place podium finish in season opener

Honda development team, with last year’s failure in defending the title in mind as well as renewed determinations to get it back, introduced a further tweaked title contender featuring all new aerodynamic bodyworks, aka NSX-GT 2022 models, based on NSX Type S that’s put on the market in 2021. Teams and drivers are all stayed on the previous line-ups but for Astemo NSX-GT #17 that have switched Koudai Tsukakoshi’s teammate to Nobuharu Matsushita.

Okayama International Circuit on Saturday was blessed with fine weather. ARTA NSX-GT #8 (Tomoki Nojiri), Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT #16 (Toshiki Oyu), Astemo NSX-GT #17 (Tsukakoshi) , Modulo NSX-GT #64 (Hiroki Otsu) and STANLEY NSX-GT (Naoki Yamamoto) attended the official Q1 session, however, #16 car driven by Oyu had some vibrations as soon as it reached cruising speed and immediately returned to the pit only to abandon further runs.

The 10-minutes session with a short period of yellow flag saw the #100 NSX-GT car (Yamamoto), marking the 6th fastest time among 15 cars in the same class, got through to the Q2 session. The #100 car at the hands of Tadasuke Makino, marking the 3rd fastest time in the Q2 session run by 8 cars, became the best-positioned NSX-GT starter for the race.

On the race day carrying the spell of fine weather from the day before, both ambient and track surface temperatures hiked up at Okayama International Circuit. The formation lap started at 2 p.m. transitioned cleanly into the race. The #100 NSX-GT (Makino) maintaining the 3rd place often set on #39 DENSO KOBELLCO SARD GR Supra (Yuhi Sekiguchi) running 2nd but was frustrated each time around. In the meantime, #38 ZENT CERUMO GR Supra (Yuji Tachikawa) was catching up from behind and then passed the #100 car at the 17th lap to take the 3rd place.

The #100 NSX-GT (Makino) running 4th place went to the pit for new tires and refueling after 29 laps, but when Yamamoto took over the steering and returned to the track, The #12 CALSONIC IMPUL Z (Kazuki Hiramine) rushed by at the straight end, demoting the position of the #100 NSX-GT (Yamamoto) from 4th to 5th virtually.

The #100 NSX-GT driven by Yamamoto, in spite of the sluggish pace at the earlier stint, begun picking up ground lap after lap and steadily closed the gap with the #39 Supra. Yamamoto sneaked inside at the back straight at the 66th lap, run into the hairpin side by side and finally overtook the #39 Supra to recapturing the 4th place. The #100 NSX-GT under the command of Yamamoto then further increased the speed and closed in on #12 Z and #38 Supra running 2nd and 3rd respectively, however, the inborn character of Okayama International Circuit, difficulty in overtaking in other words, impeded Yamamoto to seize the chance and forced him to follow them in train for a while.

The opportunity arrived at the 72nd lap, 10 laps to go to the checkered flag. The two cars in front, #12 Z and #38 Supra, were in a hand-to-hand battle at Atwood corner, which generated a lot more slipstream and, at the same time, made their acceleration retarded slightly. Yamamoto calmly detected the opportunity, brought his car deep inside the slipstream first, then flipped out from it to take the most inward position of the 3-car side-by-side running into the hairpin, and swept two cars together to jump up from 4th to 2nd.

The #100 NSX-GT (Yamamoto) was speeding up even further, and not only pulling away the cars behind but also catching up the front-running #14 ENEOS X PRIME GR Supra (Kenta Yamashita), and finally got the 2nd place with just 1.8 seconds off from the winner. Other Honda entrants in scoring positions are; the 9th place for the #17 NSX-GT (Tsukakoshi/Matsushita) and 10th for the #8 NSX-GT (Nojiri/Nirei Fukuzumi).

As for the GT300 class, the #18 UPGARAGE NSX GT3 (Takashi Kobayashi/Kakunoshin Ohta) achieved the 2nd place starting from the 4th grid, sharing the joy of podium finish with the Yamamoto/Makino GT500 duo.


Masahiro Saiki
Masahiro Saiki
HRC SGT Large Project Leader
Unwilling results in the qualifying rounds made the race even harder. But, thanks to the 2nd place achieved by the #100 car, we could confirm that the direction of our development has not been wrong. The feeling we had in the pre-season test in Okayama suggested a rather gloomy outcome, however, the actual performance turned out to be much better than expected. Both the #17 and #8 cars using the same tires were not particularly fast, and there should be definite reasons. We’re gonna look into any possible causes and find out solution at HRC, for sure. The second round at Fuji Speedway will be a long 450km-race which provides us with another critical challenge as to the pit work. I think the longer the race distance becomes the better our chance will be. So, we thank you in advance for the continuous support next time again.

Naoki YAMAMOTO
Naoki YAMAMOTO 100
TEAM KUNIMITSU
The original plan was to move up the position by pitstop, but the pace wasn’t good enough that I’d rather moved down my position. I tried to adjust my driving style this and that, in the meantime, the tire conditions begun to change gradually. I raised my pace while others’ falling down, and thus I could close in on front runners. Still, I knew it’s extremely hard to switch positions unless I had some good fortunes, because Okayama is famous for its “hard-to-overtake” character. As it was, two cars in front fighting very close each other made a big slipstream for me, and I could sneak inside of them using it. I must thank them for their fairness when I made my move. That was really a superb battle fought by superb drivers free of the slightest scratch.

Tadasuke MAKINO
Tadasuke MAKINO 100
TEAM KUNIMITSU
In the early part of the race, I could never beat the #39 car, even though my pace was better. I had some chances but Sekiguchi drove the #39 car pretty well, and I was riveted to the spot behind. Meanwhile, the #38 car closing in on me tale-to-nose, overtook me at Atwood corner as I was delayed by a GT300 car. I think I was lucky not to hit anything nor run over the track (albeit a brief lock-up of front tires). That’s why I’d rather thankful to get a result like this. After that, it’s Naoki-san (Yamamoto) made the job done all through to the end. He’s fantastic in the truest sense of the word! I had let the #14 car run away while I was wasting my time with the #39 car. If I dealt (with the #39 car) smarter in my stint, the result would be even better I think.

Takashi Kobayashi
Takashi Kobayashi 18
UPGARAGE NSX GT3
I couldn’t do the long run on Saturday so that I had little confidence on myself. But, Ohta marked pretty good times using hard tires (for long distance runs) in the morning warm-up session, which made me feel, “I can run fast too, hopefully.” As I used soft tires in the qualifying session, I would have my race tires worn a bit quickly. So, we planned to cut my stint relatively shorter, and let Ohta run longer till to the end. Therefore, finishing 2nd today was a good result for me all in all. I’ve got pretty well with my new teammate, Ohta. We’ve been to the public bath together for a couple of times already, and building up a “Naked Association” literally (laughs). I mean a completely open relationship, and we’ll find out merits or differences each other. With such mutual understandings set on the basics, we’ll dig deep into the setting up the car. I expect, in that way, we can perform better and better throughout the season.

Kakunoshin Ohta
Kakunoshin Ohta 18
UPGARAGE NSX GT3
I’m extremely happy that I could achieve a podium finish in my debut race. I had, at one time, the #9 car bite at my tail, but managed fend off. In the later part of the race, as I felt the car becoming a little bit slack, I choose to play safe after consulting with the team, and thankfully managed to bring it to the finish. I found it extremely difficult to race along with GT500 cars, and honestly, I was driving around, saying to myself, “I want this to finish soon!” (grins wryly). I think I owe much to my senior teammate as dependable as Kobayashi-san for the result today. He’s way superior than me both in knowledge and experience, so I try to drive as naturally as possible and deliver my own feedback. That’s the way I can do for the team right now.

GT500 Race Result

Pos. Num. Machine Driver Laps Time/Gap
1 14 ENEOS X PRIME GR Supra Kazuya Oshima
Kenta Yamashita
82 1:58'54.464
2 100 STANLEY NSX-GT Naoki Yamamoto
Tadasuke Makino
82 +1.798
3 23 MOTUL AUTECH Z Tsugio Matsuda
Ronnie Quintarelli
82 +3.478
4 38 ZENT CERUMO GR Supra Yuji Tachikawa
Hiroaki Ishiura
82 +9.761
5 3 CRAFTSPORTS MOTUL Z Katsumasa Chiyo
Mitsunori Takaboshi
82 +11.701
6 36 au TOM'S GR Supra Sho Tsuboi
Giuliano Alesi
82 +13.534
9 17 Astemo NSX-GT Koudai Tsukakoshi
Nobuharu Matsushita
82 +24.697
10 8 ARTA NSX-GT Tomoki Nojiri
Nirei Fukuzumi
82 +25.339
12 16 Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT Ukyo Sasahara
Toshiki Oyu
82 +1'10.319
15 64 Modulo NSX-GT Takuya Izawa
Hiroki Otsu
81 +1Lap

GT300 Race Result

Pos. Num. Machine Driver Laps Time/Gap
1 56 REALIZE NISSAN MECHANIC CHALLENGE GT-R Kiyoto Fujinami
Joao Paulo de Oliveira
77 1:59'46.884
2 18 UPGARAGE NSX GT3 Takashi Kobayashi
Kakunoshin Ohta
77 +14.734
3 65 LEON PYRAMID AMG Naoya Gamou
Takuro Shinohara
77 +18.112
4 9 PACIFIC hololive NAC Ferrari Kei Cozzolino
Naoki Yokomizo
77 +41.223
5 6 Team LeMans Audi R8 LMS Satoshi Motoyama
Yoshiaki Katayama
76 +1Lap
6 10 TANAX GAINER GT-R Ryuichiro Tomita
Riki Okusa
76 +1Lap
15 55 ARTA NSX GT3 Hideki Mutoh
Iori Kimura
76 +1Lap

GT500 Standing

Pos. Num. Driver Machine Pts
1 14 Kazuya Oshima
Kenta Yamashita
ENEOS X PRIME GR Supra 21
2 100 Naoki Yamamoto
Tadasuke Makino
STANLEY NSX-GT 15
3 23 Tsugio Matsuda
Ronnie Quintarelli
MOTUL AUTECH Z 11
4 38 Yuji Tachikawa
Hiroaki Ishiura
ZENT CERUMO GR Supra 8
5 3 Katsumasa Chiyo
Mitsunori Takaboshi
CRAFTSPORTS MOTUL Z 6
6 36 Sho Tsuboi
Giuliano Alesi
au TOM'S GR Supra 5
9 17 Koudai Tsukakoshi
Nobuharu Matsushita
Astemo NSX-GT 2
10 8 Tomoki Nojiri
Nirei Fukuzumi
ARTA NSX-GT 1

GT300 Standing

Pos. Num. Driver Machine Pts
1 56 Kiyoto Fujinami
Joao Paulo de Oliveira
REALIZE NISSAN MECHANIC CHALLENGE GT-R 20
2 18 Takashi Kobayashi
Kakunoshin Ohta
UPGARAGE NSX GT3 15
3 65 Naoya Gamou
Takuro Shinohara
LEON PYRAMID AMG 11
4 9 Kei Cozzolino
Naoki Yokomizo
PACIFIC hololive NAC Ferrari 8
5 6 Satoshi Motoyama
Yoshiaki Katayama
Team LeMans Audi R8 LMS 6
6 10 Ryuichiro Tomita
Riki Okusa
TANAX GAINER GT-R 5


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