Okayama: Series race report

XANAVI NISMO GT-R (Motoyama/Treluyer) Starts Season with Consecutive Victories! The Okayama GT 300km Race, Round 2 of the 2008 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, was held at the Okayama International Circuit (one lap 3.703 km x 82 laps) in Okayama Pref. on...

XANAVI NISMO GT-R (Motoyama/Treluyer) Starts Season with Consecutive Victories!

The Okayama GT 300km Race, Round 2 of the 2008 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, was held at the Okayama International Circuit (one lap 3.703 km x 82 laps) in Okayama Pref. on April 13 and Satoshi Motoyama and Benoit Treluyer drove the XANAVI NISMO GT-R to a second consecutive victory, following their win in the season opener.

The race started at 14:00. The pole position starter, Benoit Treluyer drove his XANAVI NISMO GT-R into the lead and held that position. At one point, last year's season champion, the ARTA NSX, gave chase and even edged ahead for a moment. But Treluyer regained and held the lead through the first half of the race and turned over the machine to his teammate Satoshi Motoyama that way. Motoyama held the lead unchallenged throughout the second half of the race-aided in part by the ARTA NSX's brush with another machine it was lapping-and went on to take the victory.

For the XANAVI NISMO GT-R team this was their second consecutive win of the season, following their victory in the opening round at Suzuka. Such back-to-back wins are very difficult in the SUPER GT due to the regulation that handicaps winners with weights in the next race. As a result, consecutive GT victories have only been won three times since the competition began in 1994. And the last time that a team won consecutive victories in the first two rounds of the season was ten years ago in 1998 (Skyline GT-R).

The GT300 class win went to the ARTA Garaiya driven by Morio Nitta and Shinichi Takagi.

Winner Comments

No.23 XANAVI NISMO GT-R [GT500]

Benoit Treluyer: "I thought it was virtually impossible to win consecutive races in the SUPER GT, so I guess we will go down in history. So I feel fantastic! It was a difficult race, though, and I think the decisive factor in our win was the choice of tires. I worked hard to try to gain a margin over the first six laps. The ARTA NSX was fast too, and drew even with me at one point, but I was able to keep the lead."

Satoshi Motoyama: "Before coming to Okayama, I was thinking that we would do well just to finish in the points around 5th or 7th place. But, in the free practice sessions on Friday, even though the handicap weights [from the Round 1 win] were heavy, we found good the setting and the team had the car in very good condition. So, it was just up to me and Benoit to do our best and drive hard. I want to thank the team. Since Benoit had gotten a lead for me, I could run easily in my part of the race. The next race is at Fuji Speedway, which is a course where handicap weights take a toll. So, it is difficult to expect things to go this well again, but we will be trying to at least finish in the points."

ARTA Garaiya [GT500]

Morio Nitta: "To be honest, I am really relieved. I never expected us to be able to get a win like this so early in the season. It is great. I was watching No. 46, which was running on the same Michelin tires as us, and when I saw that they were not running at a fast pace, I was worried about our tires. I was pushing hard but I still got passed by the No. 26 Porsche. I had started with a full tank, so we were able to save time on the refueling during our pit stop. We have to give our mechanics credit. Then Shinichi [Takagi] was able to run well in those tough conditions and keep that margin we had gained."

Shinichi Takagi: ARTA's manager, Aguri Suzuki was here [back from Europe] for this race, so I was nervous (laughs). It was a big help that we were able to get back on the course quickly after the fast pit work. Since I had a lot of the laps to run on my leg, I thought about saving the tires and held back as I drove. I had a car spin out right in front of me and that caused me to run off the track, but fortunately I was able to avoid hitting the other car."

-credit: super gt

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Series SUPERGT