Can the GT-R conquer a scorching, intense marathon to grab a 4-round winning streak?
SUPER GT 2015 Round 5 Preview
Round 5 of the SUPER GT, the ď44th International SUZUKA 1000kmĒ, will be held over August 29th to 30th at Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka, Mie Prefecture. Being held on the final weekend of summer vacation, this race will not only occur under intense, blistering heat, but will also run a distance of 1000km, the longest in the series, making it one of the toughest events of the season. Having entered into the seasonís second half, all competitors are starting to feel the pressure in the fight for the championship. With bonus points being awarded to the top finishing cars in the Suzuka 1000km, this is one round you cannot miss in terms of foretelling where the series is headed.
In the second round at Fuji the #1 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Michelin) of Tsugio Matsuda / Ronnie Quintarelli and the #12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R (Bridgestone), driven by Hironobu Yasuda / Joao Paolo de Oliveira, grabbed a 1-2 finish. In round 3 held at Thailandís Chang International Circuit, the #46 S Road MOLA GT-R (Michelin) of Satoshi Motoyama / Masataka Yanagida took a literal lights-to-flag victory. Then, in the last round at Fuji, the #24 Dístation ADVAN GT-R (Yokohama Tires) of Daiki Sasaki / Michael Krumm achieved a spectacular come back from the rear to take victory and make it a 3-round winning streak for the GT-R, which also sees it currently occupying 1st and 2nd in the series rankings. However, these successes have also resulted in handicap weight increases, with the #12 GT-R and #1 GT-R being assigned 76kg and 68kg respectively (50kg of which is accomplished through a fuel restrictor). Furthermore the #46 GT-R has been set with 48kg and the #24 GT-R, which took victory in the last round, with 40kg. That being said, in last yearís Suzuka 1000km, despite being loaded with a mammoth 84kg handicap weight, right until the finish Matsuda and Quintarelli managed to carry out an intense fight for the lead with a rival that was carrying a mere 44kg, raising expectations of a possible win this time around.
†Of course, we canít overlook the chance of a counterattack from our rivals. In line with the series engine use regulations, most of the teams have installed new version engines into their machines making increasingly intense battles almost inevitable. The expectations for Lexus, who had victory at their de facto home course of Fuji taken out of their grasp by the GT-R, and Honda, which makes Suzuka its home base, in this midsummer 1000km race are high. Right from qualifying, this is guaranteed to be a race you cannot take your eyes off.
†In the GT300 class, also, the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 has been garnering a great deal of attention. The 2015 spec car has had its competitiveness further boosted through improvements such as enhanced aerodynamics and strengthened brakes, which has seen the GT-R take 2 wins in 4 rounds thus far. Not only that, the #10 GAINER and #3 NDDP RACING are sitting at 1st and 2nd in the series rankings respectively. Although this also means their weight handicaps have become quite heavy, there is no telling what can occur in a 1000km marathon race and, depending on how it unfolds, there is more than a good chance for the GT-R to take victory in this round.
†Due to this raceís relatively long distance, about half of the teams competing in the GT300 have brought in a third driver. The #3 NDDP RACING sees regular drivers, Kazuki Hoshino and Mitsunori Takaboshi, team up with Wolfgang Reip, who is competing this season in the Blancpain Endurance Series. Following on from last year this is the second time he will be challenging Suzuka in summer.
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