Round 4

Modulo NSX-GT and ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT (#16) Finish on the Podium in 2nd and 3rd Positions

jp Fuji Speedway

August 5 (Sat) - 6 (Sun) — The fourth round of the 2023 SUPER GT series was held at Fuji Speedway (Shizuoka Pref.) and five NSX-GT cars of the 2023 spec and two NSX-GT3 cars participated in each of the GT500 and GT300 class.

Modulo NSX-GT and ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT (#16) Finish on the Podium in 2nd and 3rd Positions

While a record-breaking heat wave was staying in the region, this round at Fuji run on a 450km long-distance format that is one-and-a-half times longer than the standard 300km. For that reason, at least two refueling stops are mandated in the race.

As for #8 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT (Tomoki Nojiri/Toshiki Oyu), Iori Kimura was appointed as the third driver to fill in any stint if Oyu previously incurring minor injury on his training felt unwell during the race.

The race week at Fuji Speedway saw an extremely harsh condition for both ambient and road surface temperature endlessly hiked up from Friday, the sending-in day for the event, and on Saturday, the sky stayed clear as ever under which qualifying sessions were to take place.

Q1 session started at 3:53 p.m. when the gleaming sun begun to slant, and in the 10-minutes trial, #16 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT (Nirei Fukuzumi/Hiroki Otsu) reproduced the top form that has been conspicuous since the morning free practice sessions, and eventually marked the fastest time in the session. Further more, all five NSX-GT cars made way to Q2 session scoring top-8 clocks.

The results of Q2 session: #16 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT (Fukuzumi/Otsu) captured 2nd grid, did on down, #8 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT (Nojiri/Oyu/Kimura) 3rd, #17 Astemo NSX-GT (Koudai Tsukakoshi/Nobuharu Matsushita) 5th, #100 STANLEY NSX-GT (Naoki Yamamoto/Tadasuke Makino) 6th and #64 Modulo NSX-GT (Takuya Izawa/Kakunoshin Ohta) 8th gird.

Next day, Sunday, dawned blight and cloudless yet again, however, the forecast in the afternoon suggested a sudden change in the weather for the worse, and it became clear for everyone that the race is going to be a very difficult one. As was anticipated, the rain begun to fall just before the race start which made all cars shod with rain tires and departed behind the safety car in a heavy spray of water.

Both #16 and #8 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GTs left from 2nd and 3rd grid each got sluggish in the early part, losing their positions one after another. In the meantime, the road surface was quickly drying as the rain eased off, and as from Lap-10, most of the teams opted for dry tires that brought the field order into a complete mess. After the Lap-17 point, when all the GT500 cars changed to dry tires, #16 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT was running at the top despite the stagnation in the early laps.

In the race presented a sort of chaotic state because of the weather for a start, then of a number of incidents/accidents followed, including a fire broke out on a GT300 car that induced safety car, the entire NSX-GT brigade committed to the solid pace-making with the fuel consumption in mind.

After the halfway point when the leading car run on Lap-66, yet another fire broke out on a GT300 car, and it was much bigger and longer one for this time that led to the red flag. As the rain started falling again during the fire-extinguishing operation, all cars lined up on the grid were allowed to switch rain tires prior to the restart they await for rather impatiently.

At 4:30 p.m., when the race was restarted, #16 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT soon begun assaulting on the cars in front and overtook it one by one.

As some of the top runners were in need for fuel stop, #16 car made its placing up to 2nd on Lap-83, and a little further back in the field, #100 STANLEY NSX-GT and #64 Modulo NSX-GT also increased its pace and followed #16 car, thus the NSX-GT trio kept on going in the same 3-car formation and finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th, albeit tentatively.

After the race, so-called “faulty conduct of tire change while refueling” was confirmed on #16 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT and #100 STANLEY NSX-GT and a 40-sec time penalty was imposed to both cars. Therefore, the official results were settled as to raise #64 Astemo NSX-GT to 2nd place, and #16 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT was relegated 3rd.

Masahiro Saiki
Masahiro Saiki
HRC SGT Large Project Leader
Reflecting these three races, we could assume the potential of NSX-GT. So, our primary target for this round was to become the center player in the championship by occupying the upper slots  as many as possible. We could send all our cars into Q2 as planned yesterday. As for the race, we’d like to finish in front of #3 (Niterra MOTUL Z) and #36 (au TOM'S GR Supra) car for they’ve been 1st and 2nd on the point table so far, however, we could only outdo #36 car and not #3. We still have the second half of the season to fight in which we’d like to reaffirm our strength and keep on playing as a primary contender in the series.

Nirei Fukuzumi
Nirei Fukuzumi 16
Started the race with rain tires and soon I found it dried up, making my stint a very tough one. It was hard in the before half, but later in the race, I got feeling that it’s not as bad as I thought at first. In addition, I could change to slick tires probably the best possible timing. At one time in the later stage, I was aced by #14 (ENEOS X PRIME GR Supra) car and then by #39 (DENSO KOBELCO SARD GR Supra) car, however, I was not in the panic because I knew the refueling time of both cars was very short. It was a sort of messy race in which Otsu-san handled the difficult condition very well after my stint. It’s nice to have made some results. Of course, it’s much better to have won the race, but, after a somewhat misplaced period, I mean all those well-performed races just lacking in decent result, I think we could set a favorable momentum for the future this time around.

Hiroki Otsu
Hiroki Otsu 16
When I was running on slick tires, my pace was not good enough, and I prepared for a “harsh verdict” to come, however, the opportunity changing into rain tires fell upon us during the red flag period. In the initial laps right after the restart, my tire grip was poor so that #8 Nojiri got ahead of me and begun pulling off. On the other hand, I’d already heard from the team and Nirei saying that, “the pace would get better in the later part of the stint.” So, I could stay calm and concentrated to keep my own pace as well as my position. And then, bingo! The cars in front slowed down rather heavily and I managed to get ahead of them, in my own right I suppose. Things got even better thereafter. I took care of my tires running deliberately on puddles, and made some decent results finally.

GT500 Race Result

Pos. Num. Machine Driver Time
1 3 Niterra MOTUL Z Katsumasa Chiyo
Mitsunori Takaboshi
2 64 Modulo NSX-GT Takuya Izawa
Kakunoshin Ohta
3 16 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT Nirei Fukuzumi
Hiroki Otsu
4 36 au TOM'S GR Supra Sho Tsuboi
Ritomo Miyata
5 38 ZENT CERUMO GR Supra Yuji Tachikawa
Hiroaki Ishiura
6 100 STANLEY NSX-GT Naoki Yamamoto
Tadasuke Makino
7 17 Astemo NSX-GT Koudai Tsukakoshi
Nobuharu Matsushita
14 8 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT Tomoki Nojiri
Toshiki Oyu

GT300 Race Result

Pos. Num. Machine Driver Time/Gap
1 11 GAINER TANAX GT-R Ryuichiro Tomita
Keishi Ishikawa
Yusuke Shiotsu
2 7 Studie BMW M4 Seiji Ara
Masataka Yanagida
3 6 DOBOT Audi R8 LMS Yoshiaki Katayama
Roberto Merhi Muntan
Seiya Jin
Teppei Natori
5 31 apr LC500h GT Koki Saga
Kazuto Kotaka
6 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT Takuto Iguchi
Hideki Yamauchi
17 18 UPGARAGE NSX GT3 Takashi Kobayashi
Syun Koide
20 27 Yogibo NSX GT3 Yugo Iwasawa
Reimei Ito

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