Round 3

ARTA MUGEN CIVIC TYPE R-GT #16 Takes the Podium Finish in P3

jp Suzuka Circuit
ARTA MUGEN CIVIC TYPE R-GT #16 Takes the Podium Finish in P3

June 1 (Sat) - 2 (Sun) — The third round of the 2024 SUPER GT series specially named as “SUZUKA GT 3Hours Race” was held at Suzuka Circuit (Mie Pref.) and five CIVIC TYPE R-GT cars and a NSX-GT3 car participated in each of the GT500 and GT300 class. As same as the previous event (R2), this one, R3 of the season, was run on a “3-hour” time-oriented format.

Suzuka on June 1 (Sat) was greeted by the clear morning sky and the bright sun burned down on the entire circuit. The CIVIC TYPE R-GT squadron hustling on the home soil marked top times right from the morning practice session, and looked perfectly ready for the afternoon qualifying sessions.

The Q1 session started at 3:33 p.m. saw #8 ARTA MUGEN CIVIC TYPE R-GT (Nobuharu Matsushita) clocked the 2nd best time, on down, #17 Astemo CIVIC TYPE R-GT (Kakunoshin Ohta) 3rd, #16 ARTA MUGEN CIVIC TYPE R-GT (Ren Sato) 4th, #100 STANLEY CIVIC TYPE R-GT (Naoki Yamamoto) 6th and #64 Modulo CIVIC TYPE R-GT (Riki Okusa) 7th, all five Honda GT500 entrants made way to Q2 with prosperous times.

The Q2 started at 4:29 p.m., and in the 10-minute session, #17 Astemo CIVIC TYPE R-GT (Koudai Tsukakoshi) nullified the fine effort in Q1 by the spin and ended up in a lowly 15th grid. On the other hand, another CIVIC TYPE R-GT division carrying lighter success weights performed correspondingly well: #16 ARTA MUGEN CIVIC TYPE R-GT (Hiroki Otsu) and #8 ARTA MUGEN CIVIC TYPE R-GT (Tomoki Nojiri) marked 2nd and 4th fastest (aggregated) time with #100 STANLEY CIVIC TYPE R-GT (Tadasuke Makino) and #64 Modulo CIVIC TYPE R-GT (Takuya Izawa) following in 10th and 13th respectively.

On June 2 (Sun), the drizzling clouds in the morning gradually scattered and at 1:30 p.m., as the formation lap was started, the sun came out from the patchy blue sky. There were small puddles still remained at places on the track where all runners shod with dry tires, lined up at the starting grid and waited for the green signal.

As the red lights went off, #16 ARTA MUGEN CIVIC TYPE R-GT (Otsu) off from the 2nd grid hung on doggedly to the pole sitter (#37 GR Supra), but was pulled away little by little thereafter, then worse still, slid down to 3rd on Lap-5 after being chased hard and finally passed by #14 car. Later on Lap-24, Otsu headed for the pit and handed the car over to Sato after tire change and refueling. Sato got back into the race resuming the same virtual 3rd position and resolutely began his stint.

#8 ARTA MUGEN CIVIC TYPE R-GT (Matsushita) came into the pit after running 32 laps in 4th, and switched to Nojiri. Refueling and tire change were duly done, but unfortunately slowed down on Lap-44 due to a drive train failure, and returned to the pit only to decide early retirement.

#16 ARTA MUGEN CIVIC TYPE R-GT (Sato) accumulated laps maintaining the 3rd position, made its second stop on Lap-60, and transferred to Otsu who returned the race in 3rd as well. On Lap-69, a drive-through penalty was given to the race leader, #14 car (GR Supra), and thus #16 ARTA MUGEN CIVIC TYPE R-GT (Otsu) was automatically raised to 2nd albeit just for a while. As indeed, #14 car soon made good the penalty loss, closing in on #16 car and overtook it at Hitachi Astemo Chicane on Lap-78.

#16 ARTA MUGEN CIVIC TYPE R-GT (Otsu) went on to finish the race in 3rd at least, however, the progress of tire wear suddenly became crucial at around 30-minutes to go. While the acute degradation of tires forced tangible pace down, Otsu doggedly accumulated lap after lap, and defended the 3rd position with 0.530-sec gap from the immediate pursuer.

In the meantime, #17 Astemo CIVIC TYPE R-GT (Tsukakoshi/Ohta) departing from 15th grid has been going on a high pace and steadily made up positions. At some point, #17 car caught up with #100 STANLEY CIVIC TYPE R-GT (Yamamoto/Makino), passed it to inherit its 6th position, and finished the race in that position. Yamamoto/Makino duo also got their share of points, achieving 3-straight point finishes from the opening round.

Masahiro Saiki
Masahiro Saiki
HRC SGT Large Project Leader
We’ve learned a hard lesson today: Even if you start the race from the front row, you should manage your pit stop strategy not to incur a delay in traffic. As a matter of fact, #17 car marked the fastest lap among the CIVIC TYPE R-GT squadron today. If started from better grid positions, it could’ve won the race, which I regret most. At the end of the day, the top 5 finishers are all carrying lighter success weights while we in Honda still have a car or two with even lighter success weights. We’ll try our best to get on the top of the podium next time. Thank you very much for your continuous support.

Hiroki Otsu
Hiroki Otsu 16
The car felt good right from the free practice session, and it made me confident on the potential. But I didn’t foresee the condition was ever changing towards the qualifying sessions, so that I couldn’t drive the way I wanted to, and ended up with the 2nd grid. In the race, I was outpaced by the pole-sitter right from the start, and all I could do was to hand over the car to Ren (Sato) in 3rd. Thankfully, Ren’s pace was relatively better that I could take up the steering wheel for the last stint in the same position. In the final phase of the race, as the tire degradation progressed more and more, I could barely secure the 3rd place.

Ren Sato
Ren Sato 16
We could finish 3rd on the podium for this time. There’re some frustrations because we wanted to win, however, we came to know our shortcomings clearly, so the gain was way larger than the loss. When it comes to the overall pace, we couldn’t match those finished 1st and 2nd, and that’s where we need to improve and even outdo if possible. We’ll bring this back to the team for further development and try to achieve a better result in the next race. Needless to say, winning races is our ultimate objective.

GT500 Race Result

Pos. Num. Machine Driver Laps/Gap
1 37 Deloitte TOM'S GR Supra Ukyo Sasahara
Giuliano Alesi
92 Laps
2 14 ENEOS X PRIME GR Supra Kazuya Oshima
Nirei Fukuzumi
3 16 ARTA MUGEN CIVIC TYPE R-GT #16 Hiroki Otsu
Ren Sato
4 12 MARELLI IMPUL Z Kazuki Hiramine
Bertrand Baguette
5 36 au TOM'S GR Supra Sho Tsuboi
Kenta Yamashita
6 17 Astemo CIVIC TYPE R-GT Koudai Tsukakoshi
Kakunoshin Ohta
7 100 STANLEY CIVIC TYPE R-GT Naoki Yamamoto
Tadasuke Makino
13 64 Modulo CIVIC TYPE R-GT Takuya Izawa
Riki Okusa
+5 Laps
- 8 ARTA MUGEN CIVIC TYPE R-GT #8 Tomoki Nojiri
Nobuharu Matsushita
+44 Laps

GT300 Race Result

Pos. Num. Machine Driver Laps/Gap
1 777 D'station Vantage GT3 Tomonobu Fujii
Charlie Fagg
85 Laps
2 2 muta Racing GR86 GT Yuui Tsutsumi
Hibiki Taira
Roberto Merhi Muntan
4 31 apr LC500h GT Kazuto Kotaka
Jin Nakamura
Yuki Nemoto
5 52 Green Brave GR Supra GT Hiroki Yoshida
Seita Nonaka
6 45 PONOS FERRARI 296 Kei Cozzolino
Lilou Wadoux
13 18 UPGARAGE NSX GT3 Takashi Kobayashi
Syun Koide
Yusuke Mitsui
+2 Laps

GT500 Ranking

Pos. Num. Driver Machine Pts
1 36 Sho Tsuboi
Kenta Yamashita
au TOM'S GR Supra 37
2 3 Mitsunori Takaboshi
Atsushi Miyake
Niterra MOTUL Z 20
3 37 Ukyo Sasahara
Giuliano Alesi
Deloitte TOM'S GR Supra 27
4 23 Katsumasa Chiyo
Ronnie Quintarelli
5 100 Naoki Yamamoto
Tadasuke Makino
6 14 Kazuya Oshima
Nirei Fukuzumi
8 17 Koudai Tsukakoshi
Kakunoshin Ohta
9 16 Hiroki Otsu
Ren Sato
12 8 Tomoki Nojiri
Nobuharu Matsushita
15 64 Takuya Izawa
Riki Okusa

GT300 Ranking

Pos. Num. Driver Machine Pts
1 2 Yuui Tsutsumi
Hibiki Taira
muta Racing GR86 GT 43
2 88 Takashi Kogure
Yuya Motojima
JLOC Lamborghini GT3 26
3 52 Hiroki Yoshida
Seita Nonaka
Green Brave GR Supra GT 25
4 777 Tomonobu Fujii
Charlie Fagg
D'station Vantage GT3 23
5 65 Naoya Gamou
Takuro Shinohara
6 31 Kazuto Kotaka
Jin Nakamura
apr LC500h GT 20
11 18 Takashi Kobayashi
Syun Koide

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