Thrilling Showdown Between the Honda and Lexus Aces!
Season title goes to the Honda pair of Kogure and Duval
Race victory for Lexus pair Wakisaka and Lotterer
The Motegi GT 250 km Race, Round 8 (final round) of the 2010 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, took place at the Motegi Twin Ring Circuit (lap = 4.801 km x 53 laps) in Tochigi Pref. on Oct. 24. The race was won by the PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 driven by Juichi Wakisaka and Andre Lotterer. By finishing 2nd in this race, Takashi Kogure and Loic Duval (Weider HSV-010) claimed the season Driver title for the GT500 class. The season Team title went to the Weider HSV-010 team.
In the GT300 class, the pair of Kazuki Hoshino and Masataka Yanagida (TOMICA Z) won the race, and in doing so won for themselves the season Driver title and the Team title for the Tomica Z team.
The race began with Duval taking the lead in the Weider HSV-010 from the pole position. But, from the very first lap, Lotterer in the PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 began moving up rapidly after starting from 5th position on the grid and was in 2nd place by the 13th lap of the race. On lap 19 he went past Duval to take the lead. After the pit stop and change of drivers, the race became a showdown between the Lexus ace Juichi Wakisaka and the Honda ace Takashi Kogure, in which Wakisaka in the lead was successful in holding off the challenge of the hard-charging Kogure to the finish. It was the first win of the season for the PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 team. Kogure and Duval were only able to finish 2nd, but that was enough to put them on top in the season point ranking and bring them their first Driver title.
In the GT300 class, the TOMICA Z started from the pole position and ran away from the field to claim victory unchallenged. It was the team's first win of the season and brought them a come-from-behind victory in the GT300 Driver title race as well.
No. 1 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 [GT500]
Juichi Wakisaka: "During the tire test at Motegi, we had been able to work on the direction of the settings and decide on our tires, so we came into this round in the best possible condition. But, during the Saturday practice Lotterer ran off the track and we ended up at the bottom in that session. Still, the team motivation was high and the machine got faster with every run. In the qualifying Lotterer pushed a little too hard and ended up in that position, but the machine itself felt very good. As for the battle with Kogure during my stint in the race today, if it were me in his shoes knowing that I only had to finish 2nd to win the title, I think I would have stayed in 2nd and not push as hard as he did. But, he was determined to take the title with a win here today and he put up a tremendous fight to try to do that. I thought that was fantastic, and it made me feel that I have to push myself in the challenge that way, too. For me, this was my 101st GT race and I entered it with renewed spirit. I decided I should try to drive more aggressively like I did when I was younger and please the fans like I did back then. There are times when you give it your all but still don't get a good result, but I am grateful to the god of racing for days like today when it all comes together."
Andre Lotterer: "I got a good start in the race today and was able to enjoy my run. At first I thought the Honda teams were fast, but they gradually began to slow down until I was able to pass No. 17 and No. 18. So, I think I did my job out there. During the second half Juichi ran tough. Watching the last two laps gave me a few more gray hairs, I think. I felt glad to be able to win here in the last race of the season. I want to thank my teammate and everyone on the team."
No. 3 TOMICA Z [GT300]
Kazuki Hoshino: "In yesterday's qualifying, Yanagida ran with a divine hand to win us a fabulous pole position. As the starting driver today, that was the greatest present I could possibly receive. So, as I drove today I was thinking about building up the biggest margin of lead that I could during my stint. From the beginning I pushed hard on every turn in every lap and kept concentrating. Since there was the possibility of running the race without a tire change, I tried to spare the tires as much as possible, too. I am glad that I was able to return to the pit with a fairly good margin of lead. Yanagida is the type of driver who always does his best to pass the cars in front of him and improve our place, so I was sure that he was going to go out and win this race for us today. As the race was drawing to a close, I began remembering all the things we have been through this season and some tears welled up in my eyes."
Masataka Yanagida: "With the big margin of lead I received, this was the easiest race of the season for me. Hoshino gave 100% out there today. He was racing all out the whole way like his father (Kazuyoshi Hoshino) used to do (laughs). Thanks to him, all I had to do today was go out there and drive steadily. In the last stages of the race I was even able to enjoy getting a first-hand look at the battle for the lead in the GT500 class (laughs). Near the end of the race I had enough of a lead and knew that we were on course to win the title, so I drove carefully to make sure nothing unexpected happened. I told myself that I had to concentrate, but a lot of thoughts kept running through my head. That's how easy it was out there today."
+ Driver Title Winner Comments
No. 18 Weider HSV-010 [GT500]
Takashi Kogure: "After joining the DOME team in 2005, I was given several chances to win the title but wasn't able to do it. This season I was able to drive as a pair with Loic who has been both a teammate and rival for me in Formula Nippon racing as well. It has been stimulating in a number of ways to be able to drive with him again here in the SUPER GT. I think it has affected me both in terms of my driving and the feeling of stability. I want to thank our team and Honda for preparing the machine so well for each race, regardless of whether we were carrying a small or large load of handicap weights. I think everything came together like clockwork this season. There were some tense moments out there [in the battle with car No. 1] and our machine had the ability to pass them if the conditions had been right, so I wanted to take the challenge to them. There is a big difference in value between finishing 1st and 2nd. But the team kept telling me not to take any unnecessary risks. We bumped each other a number of times, and I was beginning to look back over my race career out there today (grimacing laugh). Besides that, I wasn't really pushing as hard as everyone seems to think. The HSV-010 GT was a great machine in every race. I am full of gratitude for everyone on the Honda team."
Loic Duval: "I feel great right now, but I also feel a bit empty now that the tension of the competition is over. For me this year it was a new team, a new car and a new teammate and there was the pressure of having the single goal of winning the title. But I knew Kogure from having teamed with him before in Formula Nippon, so I thought I might be able to live up to everyone's expectations. I am glad that we made it through some tough races to win this title, and it has been a season that I feel has brought progress for me. You ask what I thought watching Kogure-san's battle out there today? I think it was a great race for the fans and I was so excited watching it that I thought my heart would stop (laughs). The HSV-010 GT is a car that was easy to drive from the beginning. I am full of gratitude for Honda and for the team for preparing such a fantastic car for us."
No. 3 TOMICA Z [GT300]
Kazuki Hoshino: When I changed teams this year I didn't expect to be able to race under Manager Hasemi, so it was a surprise for me. That is how the season started. Knowing that Manager Hasemi was watching me, I had the feeling that I had concentrate 100% on every lap, every turn, on the out- laps and the in-laps. I believe that is why I was able too race well. This season I made a number of mistakes in our tests and in qualifying, and every time [Manager Hasemi] gave me advice that helped me progress as a driver. I went into the race today with determination not to give up as long as there was a chance and to do everything possible to win our race without worrying about what our rivals were doing. With five laps remaining when I realized that we could win the title I got emotional and had to hold back the tears."
Masataka Yanagida: "This year the team was competing in GT300 for the first time in a while and we drivers made it our goal to run to the best of our ability in every race and win points so that in the end we could win the title. For that reason there were times early in the season when we had to bear defeat, and as the machine's performance improved mid-season we were in a position where we became contenders for the title. Although we weren't able to get wins, we were determined to work together as a team and not give up until the end. I am glad that we were able to realize our goal by winning this title. As I was driving I heard that there was a possibility that we could win the title, so I was determined to keep running as I was. As I watched Hoshino-san run away from the pack form the start, Hasemi-san was smiling and we were saying that everything was going perfectly. After leaving the pit for my stint, I felt that things were easy out there. I even felt bad that winning the championship could be this easy."