Daisuke Ito in the ENEOS SC430 wins GT500 class race

JIM GAINER DIXCEL DUNLOP F430 makes it two straight wins in GT300 class

The second set of races the JAF Grand Prix event competed by the teams of Japan's two pinnacle car race series, the SUPER GT and Formula NIPPON, were run on Nov. 14 at Fuji Speedway (one lap 4.563 km) in Shizuoka Pref. The 33,000 spectators who gathered for the third and final day of competition were treated to a day of thrilling races on the track.

SUPER GT series races are normally run with the two drivers of each team driving one stint each in the same race, but in this competition the two drivers each drive a full race separately on one of the two days of November 13th and 14th. After the second day of racing, the JAF Grand Prix titles go the teams that win the most cumulative points for the two drivers.

In the GT500 class Race 2 (22 laps / 100.386km) it was the 2nd-place qualifier Daisuke Ito in the ENEOS SC430 who got the best start, while pole- position winner Tsugio Matsuda in the CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R fell slightly behind. Once in the lead, Ito went on to show his credentials as a GT veteran by holding off fierce challenges by this season's GT500 driver champion, Takashi Kogure (Weider HSV-010), in the middle stages of the race and by Kazuya Oshima (MJ KRAFT SC430) in the latter stages to claim a hard- earned victory.

This was Ito's first victory since moving from the Honda camp to a Toyota Lexus team in 2008. Meanwhile, 2nd place in today's race went to Oshima and 3rd place to Kogure.

Based on the results of today's Race2 and yesterday's Race 1, the GT500 class overall win and the JAF Grand Prix title went to the ENEOS SC430 pair (Daisuke Ito/Bjorn Wirdheim). As the GT500 winning team, the LEXUS TEAM LeMans ENEOS also received the Prize of the Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation.

In the GT300 class Race 2 (22 laps / 100.386km) the pole-sitter Morio Nitta in the ARTA Garaiya made the fatal mistake of a making a flying start. This gave the lead to the two Fairlady Z cars, but in the latter stages of the race they were passed by Tetsuya Tanaka in the JIM GAINER DIXCEL DUNLOP F430. Tanaka went on to win the race and repeat the Race 1 success of his teammate Katsuyuki Hiranaka and bring the team its second consecutive victory in two days.

These consecutive wins brought the JIMGAINER DIXCEL DUNLOP F430 team the GT300 class JAF Grand Prix title.

Spectators: 33,000

+Winner Comments

Race 2
No. 6 ENEOS SC430 [GT500]
Daisuke Ito: "I thought there would be no problem today if I could just get a normal start. The pace of the other cars was slower than I expected, so I was relieved by that fact. When you are running in the lead, your tire grip is going to begin deteriorating at some point. I think that must have been true for Lyons [Race 1 winner in car No. 38], and in my case ran with a constant concern for the condition of my tires. The competitor I feared most out there today was Oshima in car No. 35 [who finished 2nd]. Today was a victory for me personally but, even more then that, it was a win the brought me some happy relief at the checkered, because this was my third season with ENEOS and Team LeMans and I was very disappointed about not having been able to win this season title for them as we had hoped."

Tetsuya Tanaka: "There was some pressure on me today because Hiranaka-san won yesterday's race in this car, but I thought that if I could get through the start OK and come around [the first lap] in a relatively good position, things would probably be alright. Because I had watched Hiranaka-san drop back [to below 10th place] in yesterday's race, I was worried about what might happen to me. It was a tough season for us all year, but with these two consecutive wins we were able to end the year on a bright note. It really makes me very happy. In the past ten years there has never been a season like this where I didn't get even one podium finish. I am very glad that we were able to avoid breaking that streak with this result."

-source: super gt