Round 7

ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT (#16) finishes on the podium in 2nd place


October 14 (Sat) - 15 (Sun) --- The seventh round of the 2023 SUPER GT series was held at Autopolis International Racing Course (Oita Pref.) and five NSX-GT cars of the 2023 spec and two NSX-GT3 cars participated in each of the GT500 and GT300 class.

ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT (#16) finishes on the podium in 2nd place

Naoki Yamamoto who had been injured in the previous race was announced not to drive for this round by way of precaution, and Iori Kimura was appointed as the substitution along with Tadasuke Makino who, in turn, was registered as an acting A-driver.

It is the first 450km-long race held at Autopolis that is renowned as a track hard on tires, and so the race has two mandatory stops, where the entire entrants will have to deliberate the optimum strategy of each car, especially for the tire choice. On the other hand, the sporting regulations stipulate that the success weight of all cars to be evenly reduced by half for this race.

On 14th (Sat), qualifying sessions were held under the cloudy sky. In the Q1 session of GT500-class, Makino acting as A-driver of #100 STANLEY NSX-GT for absent Yamamoto marked 4th fastest time, on down, #16 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT did 6th fastest by Hiroki Otsu, #17 Astemo NSX-GT, 8th by Koudai Tsukakoshi, all made way to Q2 in which #16 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT driven by Nirei Fukuzumi renewed the course record and dully seized the pole position.

On 15th (Sun) at 13:30 p.m., the race was started under the dappled sun where the temperature was lower than expected both in ambient (17C.) and track surface (27C.) #16 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT (Fukuzumi) launching from the pole position began pulling away from the pack on each lap it went, and soon built up a commanding lead.

In the 450km race, two mandatory pit stops and the minimum 150km-stint for a driver are required. Each team invariably divided the race distance into three stints and have first two run by the same driver only with refueling and tire change done at the first stop. #16 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT (Fukuzumi) made its stop as planned after Lap-19, and returned the track as in the virtual top position.

Almost everything went on within expectations for Fukuzumi except that the new set of tires were not perfectly matched with the ongoing condition. The pace of #16 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT (Fukuzumi) was getting stagnant only by little, however, it was enough for the pursuers to reduce the gap significantly before it made the second stop on Lap-59. Otsu taking over the command from Fukuzumi inevitably allowed #38 GR Supra get ahead of him during the stop, but soon began chasing back and overtook it at Turn-1 of Lap-63 to resume the top position.

As the sun started going down and the temperature got lowered, #16 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT (Otsu) was having hard time to maintain its pace, thus allowing cars behind to get closer and closer. Despite Otsu’s strenuous efforts to block them, #36 GR Supra sneaked inside at the entry of the 2nd hairpin on Lap-87 and passed by. Distress of #16 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT (Otsu), now running 2nd, was not finished yet. #3 Z was gaining on rather quickly which Otsu could fortunately fend off till the end of the 97-lap race to finish 2nd. #17 Astemo NSX-GT (Tsukakoshi/Nobuharu Matsushita) in 6th, #100 STANLEY NSX-GT (Makino/Kimura) in 9th, thus the three NSX-GTs finished within points.

#16 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT (Fukuzumi/Otsu), adding up 16-points in this round including an extra point for the pole position, is currently ranked 3rd in the series point (53-point in total) and is still holding onto the hope for the championship title, will head for the final round held on November 4 (Sat) - 5 (Sun) at Mobility Resort Motegi (Tochigi Pref.)

Masahiro Saiki
Masahiro Saiki
HRC SGT Large Project Leader
It was colder than we expected and I thought results were the reflection of good or bad in choosing tires, including the selective preparation at the factory. #16 car has been well matched with the condition almost always and demonstrated strong performance through to the end. However, a tiny little difference in the intricacies of the race prevented us from winning. While NSX-GT had won last two races here at Autopolis, it’s a hard-fought, well-deserved 2nd place today. The advantage we’d had in the previous races especially at the 3rd-sector seemed to be shrunken for this time. Anyway, we still have the slightest chance to make a big upset in the final round and grab the championship title. As we’ve done relatively well at Motegi in the past, we’d like to do our best to fulfill our original hope so long as it survives. Thank you very much in advance for your ever stronger support.

Nirei Fukuzumi
Nirei Fukuzumi 16
The performance in the qualifying session was much better than I’d thought it would be, and we could get the pole position. We've built up some lead early in the race and I thought everything was going exactly as planned. But, after the car was shod with hard tires, it didn’t fit well to the condition and the pace was slowing down, not much but certainly. When I handed the car over to Otsu, I knew he too would have the similar difficulties I had. He drove it tenaciously to the end, but #36 and #3 cars were simply faster. So, it’s not too bad for us to be able to finish 2nd in the end. Of course, we wanted to win! But we have to take things rather positively that the job’s done without a big trouble, especially when I think about the past races most of which were not very much rewarding. Even if it’s only mathematical and looked unlikely, chance is chance, and it's still there, definitely! We gotta go for it!

Hiroki Otsu
Hiroki Otsu 16
I was torn between soft or hard tires when it came my turn to drive, and decided in the last minute to go on soft with the total balance in mind. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make full use of the performance of the car, and that made situations pretty tough for me to deal with. I think I tried my best possible solutions, but it seemed to be up against the limit or even beyond it. The margin was so narrow that even the slightest mistake would turn over the placings. So, I was glad that I could keep the 2nd position. We’ve had a series of penalties and mishaps so far in this season, but for this time, everyone in the team did perfect job, and we, drivers too, exerted utmost efforts in the race. NSX is quick when the day gets cold, you know? In the final round, we’ll fight for the title, I promise.

GT500 Race Result

Pos. Num. Machine Driver Time/Gap
1 36 au TOM'S GR Supra Sho Tsuboi
Ritomo Miyata
2 16 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT Nirei Fukuzumi
Hiroki Otsu
3 3 Niterra MOTUL Z Katsumasa Chiyo
Mitsunori Takaboshi
4 38 ZENT CERUMO GR Supra Yuji Tachikawa
Hiroaki Ishiura
5 1 MARELLI IMPUL Z Kazuki Hiramine
Bertrand Baguette
6 17 Astemo NSX-GT Koudai Tsukakoshi
Nobuharu Matsushita
9 100 STANLEY NSX-GT Naoki Yamamoto
Tadasuke Makino
11 64 Modulo NSX-GT Takuya Izawa
Kakunoshin Ohta
  8 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT Tomoki Nojiri
Toshiki Oyu

GT300 Race Result

Pos. Num. Machine Driver Time
1 52 SAITAMATOYOPET GB GR Supra GT Hiroki Yoshida
Kohta Kawaai
Seita Nonaka
2 2 muta Racing GR86 GT Yuui Tsutsumi
Hibiki Taira
Hiroki Kato
3 31 apr LC500h GT Koki Saga
Kazuto Kotaka
Yuki Nemoto
4 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT Takuto Iguchi
Hideki Yamauchi
Teppei Natori
Tatsuya Kataoka
17 18 UPGARAGE NSX GT3 Takashi Kobayashi
Syun Koide
  27 Yogibo NSX GT3 Yugo Iwasawa
Reimei Ito

GT500 Standing

Pos. Num. Driver Machine Pts
1 36 Sho Tsuboi
Ritomo Miyata
au TOM'S GR Supra 69
2 3 Katsumasa Chiyo
Mitsunori Takaboshi
Niterra MOTUL Z 62
3 16 Nirei Fukuzumi
Hiroki Otsu
4 23 Tsugio Matsuda
Ronnie Quintarelli
5 14 Kazuya Oshima
Kenta Yamashita
6 1 Kazuki Hiramine
Bertrand Baguette
8 17 Koudai Tsukakoshi
Nobuharu Matsushita
Astemo NSX-GT 34
9 100 Tadasuke Makino STANLEY NSX-GT 33
10 8 Tomoki Nojiri
Toshiki Oyu
11 100 Naoki Yamamoto STANLEY NSX-GT 31
14 64 Takuya Izawa
Kakunoshin Ohta
Modulo NSX-GT 19
17 100 Iori Kimura STANLEY NSX-GT 2

GT300 Ranking

Pos. Num. Driver Machine Pts
1 52 Hiroki Yoshida
Kohta Kawaai
2 2 Yuui Tsutsumi
Hibiki Taira
muta Racing GR86 GT 50
3 56 Joao Paulo de Oliveira
Teppei Natori
4 7 Seiji Ara Studie BMW M4 43
5 18 Takashi Kobayashi
Syun Koide
6 61 Takuto Iguchi
Hideki Yamauchi
18 27 Yugo Iwasawa
Reimei Ito
Yogibo NSX GT3 10

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