Round 2

Fuji round of confusion, ARTA NSX-GT wins after taking the chequered flag in third place

jp Fuji Speedway

May 3 (Tue)-4 (Wed) — The 2nd round of the 2022 Super-GT series was held at Fuji Speedway (Shizuoka Pref.), and five NSX-GT 2022 models and two NSX-GT3 cars participated in the GT500 and GT300 class respectively.

Fuji round of confusion, ARTA NSX-GT wins after taking the chequered flag in third place

The race distance of this event is to be 450km that is much longer than any other event in the series and thus has two mandatory refueling stops, which means a different race management and tactic are required.

Tuesday morning (May 3) saw some puddles on the track surface that were left from the heavy rain on the day before, but the rising sun soon vaporized them all, and qualifying sessions took place under the dry condition.

In the Q1 session, Nirei Fukuzumi (#8 ARTA NSX-GT), Ukyo Sasahara (#16 Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT), Nobuharu Matsushita (#17 Astemo NSX-GT), Hiroki Ohtsu (#64 Modulo NSX-GT), Tadasuke Makino (#100 STANLEY NSX-GT) took up the first stint. As the result, Fukuzumi (#8 NSX-GT — 3rd fastest) and Makino (#100 NSX-GT — 6th fastest) got through to the Q2 session where Tomonori Nojiri brought #8 NSX-GT to 5th grid (the highest among the NSX-GT runners) and so did Naoki Yamamoto #100 NSX-GT to 7th grid. The #8 and #100 NSX-GT car carry 2kg and 30kg “Success-weight” respectively each of them incurred from the previous result.

Fine weather at Fuji Speedway on the race day seems to be secured all day from the morning till afternoon, and at 2:30 p.m., green lights for the formation lap was given to start the race. The #8 NSX-GT (Fukuzumi) lost a place in the opening lap and was followed by #100 consort car (Yamamoto), and now the long afternoon battle was set to unfold.

The initial stages of the race was led by 3-car train with #37 GR Supra at the top, then #36 GR Supra and #3 Z. 3-seconds behind the leading trio, #100 (Yamamoto) passed #8 (Fukuzumi) and the NSX-GT duo begun chasing the front runners.

On 27th lap, #100 NSX-GT (Yamamoto) came in to the pit for fresh tires and refueling, and Makino took over the steering. #8 NSX-GT (Fukuzumi), on the other hand, did ten more laps and made its first stop on 37th lap, and Nojiri, replacing driver, rejoined the track just in front of #100 NSX-GT (Makino).

On 43rd lap, an accident induced a FCY (Full Course Yellow) which was soon upgraded to SC (Safety Car), and then on 49th lap, the red-flag was waved to suspend the race. At this point, #8 NSX-GT (Nojiri) and #100 NSX-GT (Makino) sat on 5th and 7th place respectively.

Soon after the race was restarted on 53rd lap, two GR Supras (#36 and #37) fighting for the top got tangled at Turn-1, which made #36 car overshoot the track and #8 NSX-GT (Nojiri) climb up to 4th. While Nojiri was catching up the leading 3-car pack pushing hard each other, on 58th lap, at the main straight, #3 Z running 2nd by Mitsunori Takaboshi sereved and crushed extremely hard onto the guardrail. #8 NSX-GT at the hand of Nojiri narrowly evaded obstacles, however, the race was red-flagged yet again. #8 NSX-GT was now on 3rd place at this point.

The guardrail heavily damaged by the crush was repaired somehow, and the race was restarted at 18:10 p.m. with the safety car preceding the motorcade only to cease action due to the sunset time limit set at 18:20 p.m. The checkered flag was solemnly waved, and #8 NSX-GT (Nojiri) crossed the finish line at 3rd and so did #100 NSX-GT (Makino) at 7th.

A couple of surprise twists awaited thereafter: the top two finishers, #39 GR Supra and #37 GR Supra, were both imposed 40-second penalty for the misconduct of each own, which brought #8 NSX-GT to the winner’s slot and #100 NSX-GT up to 5th place. The 9th place of #17 NSX-GT (Tsukakoshi) and 10th of #16 NSX-GT (Oyu) were the other Honda point scorers, albeit half points due on the provision of the “less than 75% race distance” rule.

Masahiro Saiki
Masahiro Saiki
HRC SGT Large Project Leader
First of all, I’m relieved that Takaboshi had escaped from serious injury. I personally have some complex feelings about the today’s results, but it was an outcome of the tenacious race fought by the entire team, and that made me very happy. I think the collective strength of our team that has matured cars through intensive tests brought this result today. We could also find the direction of our developments was right. With the cars diligently updated for this season and under the new organizational structure of HRC, we could win as early as 2nd round of the season, which certainly give us confidence. The 2022 season has just started and we’ll keep on fighting for the rest of the season with reflections of this race firmly in mind. I'd like to send our sincere appreciation to fans for their continuous support.

Tomoki Nojiri
Tomoki Nojiri 8
I think we’re extremely fortunate that Takaboshi survived unhurt such a big accident. It was an extraordinary race by any standard, and I was deeply moved to see the fans staying so late to support us. We've got only half points, but point is point. We’ll try harder for the next race and beyond in order to maximize the point advantage we could add today. I think I’ll have to improve our car even better, but for this time, I felt we’ve made a step ahead of our own. Today, the victory came our way in a bizarre manner and I couldn’t help but show a troubled look that maybe came from our tangled feelings toward the accident. I strongly determined to fight tooth and nail for the next race in order to get the win that would bring unreserved pleasure to us all, I mean, the entire fans, Nirei, me and our team.

Nirei Fukuzumi
Nirei Fukuzumi 8
I was appointed to the first stint today. The car prepared for us by the team has been much improved. We’ve won this time, like that way, but when I think of the long season, even a point would be meaningful to us. It’s a big gain for us all, I mean. It’s nice to see so many people came to the circuit and gave their support to us. Thank you very much! Next time, we’ll try our best to show the race that’d really make fans happy.

GT500 Race Result

Pos. Num. Machine Driver Time/Gap
1 8 ARTA NSX-GT Tomoki Nojiri
Nirei Fukuzumi
2 36 au TOM'S GR Supra Sho Tsuboi
Giuliano Alesi
3 12 CALSONIC IMPUL Z Kazuki Hiramine
Bertrand Baguette
4 23 MOTUL AUTECH Z Tsugio Matsuda
Ronnie Quintarelli
5 100 STANLEY NSX-GT Naoki Yamamoto
Tadasuke Makino
6 19 WedsSport ADVAN GR Supra Yuji Kunimoto
Sena Sakaguchi
9 17 Astemo NSX-GT Koudai Tsukakoshi
Nobuharu Matsushita
10 16 Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT Ukyo Sasahara
Toshiki Oyu
11 64 Modulo NSX-GT Takuya Izawa
Hiroki Otsu

GT300 Race Result

Pos. Num. Machine Driver Time/Gap
1 10 TANAX GAINER GT-R Ryuichiro Tomita
Riki Okusa
Yusuke Shiotsu
2 34 BUSOU raffinee GT-R Masataka Yanagida
Yuji Ide
3 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT Takuto Iguchi
Hideki Yamauchi
4 11 GAINER TANAX GT-R Hironobu Yasuda
Keishi Ishikawa
5 88 Weibo Primez LAMBORGHINI GT3 Takashi Kogure
Yuya Motojima
6 96 K-tunes RC F GT3 Morio Nitta
Shinichi Takagi
13 18 UPGARAGE NSX GT3 Takashi Kobayashi
Kakunoshin Ohta
- 55 ARTA NSX GT3 Hideki Mutoh
Iori Kimura

GT500 Standing

Pos. Num. Driver Machine Pts
1 14 Kazuya Oshima
Kenta Yamashita
2 100 Naoki Yamamoto
Tadasuke Makino
3 23 Tsugio Matsuda
Ronnie Quintarelli
4 36 Sho Tsuboi
Giuliano Alesi
au TOM'S GR Supra 12.5
5 8 Tomoki Nojiri
Nirei Fukuzumi
6 12 Kazuki Hiramine
Bertrand Baguette
11 17 Koudai Tsukakoshi
Nobuharu Matsushita
Astemo NSX-GT 3
13 16 Ukyo Sasahara
Toshiki Oyu

GT300 Standing

Pos. Num. Driver Machine Pts
1 56 Kiyoto Fujinami
Joao Paulo de Oliveira
2 10 Ryuichiro Tomita
Riki Okusa
3 18 Takashi Kobayashi
Kakunoshin Ohta
4 65 Naoya Gamou
Takuro Shinohara
5 61 Takuto Iguchi
Hideki Yamauchi
6 9 Kei Cozzolino
Naoki Yokomizo
PACIFIC hololive NAC Ferrari 8

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