Round 6 of the SUPER GT, the “International Suzuka 1000km” will be held over August 30th-31st at Suzuka Circuit, Mie Prefecture. The Suzuka 1000km is a classic event which debuted in 1966 and, although discontinued for a brief period, will be held for the 43rd time this year. The tradition of firing off fireworks in conjunction with the waving of the checkered flag is a unique part of this event which has become a jewel in the crown of the summer season. With the Fuji round moved from the beginning of September to the beginning of August, this race has become the last act in the “3 rounds of summer.”
Suzuka circuit was opened in 1962. Japan’s first grand prix was held here in the following year and it has the longest history of any circuit in Japan. It is famous for incorporating a wide variety of corners, from a group of low-speed turns that lead onto mid-speed curves and the 130R (a 6th gear full throttle high-speed corner), as well as its unique “figure 8″ layout that has a back straight passing over the front section by means of an overpass. This season, 2 types of aerodynamic parts have been prepared and in this race the high down-force specs will be used for the first time since the opening round.
Representing Nissan will be 4 teams and 4 cars beginning with NISMO’s #23 “MOTUL AUTECH GT-R” (Tsugio Matsuda/Ronnie Quintarelli) which has risen to 3rd place in the rankings after taking victory in the 3rd round at Autopolis and 2nd in the last round a Fuji. It will be jointed by IMPUL’s #12 “CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R” (Hironobu Yasuda/Joao Paulo De Oliveira) which grabbed 1st place in round 2 at Fuji and has maintained 2nd place in the ranks. After this there is KONDO RACING’s #24 “D’station ADVAN GT-R” (Michael Krumm/Daiki Sasaki) and MOLA’s #46 “S Road MOLA GT-R” (Satoshi Motoyama/Masataka Yanagida). As for their tires, the #23 and #46 are sporting Michelins, the #12 is riding on Bridgestones, and the #24 equipped with Yokohamas.
The weight handicap system for this season’s SUPER GT has been slightly altered. As with last year, 2kg of weight will be assigned for each point earned. However, if the weight exceeds 50kg, power will be limited by a fuel restrictor (a device that regulates the flow of fuel) equivalent to 50kg. Specifically, the 3rd ranked #23 and 2nd ranked #12 have both been assigned with a fuel restrictor in addition to 34kg and 44kg of weight respectively. Currently ranked 7th, the #46 has been equipped with a fuel restrictor only, and the #24 will be competing with 18kg of weight.
At the end of June official tests were carried out on site and at that time the NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT500 tried out new aerodynamic parts. This is called a “wild card” and was the only time alterations were permitted for aerodynamics this season. Their effectiveness has already been confirmed at Suzuka and even with only a few of these parts incorporated in the low-drag specs at the last round a Fuji, the #23 managed to shake off the burden of its significant handicap weight to take 2nd. Anticipation is building to see the performance difference gained from the complete use of these new specs, which include parts for the side portion of the nose.
Another unique feature of the Suzuka 1000km is the granting of bonus points. Due to this the winner of this race will take away 25 points making it undeniably a pivotal event in the battle for the championship. While they cannot underestimate their rivals, more than anything else the teams just have to perform to the best of their ability. If they do so, it is certain that a good result will come about naturally.
In the Automotive, GT300 class, where the NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3 makes up the majority, the combination of Kazuki Hoshino and Lucas Ordonez, who have been competing in the #3 B-MAX NDDP GT-R, will be joined by Wolfgang Reip. It will be great to see how Reip, the 2012 GT Academy champion, performs in this race.