CALSONIC IMPUL GTR marking the fastest, Locked on to win in Okayama!
On March 26 and 27, SUPER GT's official test took place at the Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Pref.
The first day of the 2-day test kicked off with a session scheduled for two hours from 9:30 AM. The session started with half-wet track caused by the rain from the night before, but the track dried up pretty quickly.
Finishing first and second at the season opener, the eye-catching Nissan GT- R was applied the Special Adjustment of Performance in accordance with the Series regulation, which enforced all GT-Rs to carry 50 kg weights, but that did not seem to affect its momentum; No.22 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Michael Krumm/Masataka Yanagida) recorded the fastest time at 1 min 35.444 sec. The No.22 car left its front-fender unpainted with its carbon exposed in black color. They looked to be testing new parts for aerodynamics. Despite the extra weight, Yanagida indicated some improvements in the car, "We are testing various parts and items. We are in the process of checking the data of the aero parts, but it didn't feel bad to me. Michael went for the fast laps when the track dried up. 50kg of weight would be indeed tough though. We will just concentrate on one race at a time and would like to show off our strength and speed."
In the GT300 class, No.77 CUSCO DUNLOP SUBARU IMPREZA (Tetsuya Yamano/Kota Sasaki), finishing sixth place at the opening round in Suzuka, showed some fantastic runs. Yamano marked 1 min 44.098 sec, putting him on the top of the session. No.26 YUNKER POWER TAISAN PORSCHE (Nobuteru Taniguchi/Shinichi Yamaji) came in second, proving that Fuji is still one of the favorite circuits for Porsche.
GT-R kept its speed in the afternoon session starting from 2:30 PM. Matsuda at the wheel of No.12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/Sebastien Philippe) recorded the best time at 1 min 34.878 sec. No.22 GT-R and No.3 YellowHat YMS TOMICA GT-R (Ronnie Quintarelli/Naoki Yokomizo) were listed second and third in the time sheet, respectively, resulting in GT-R dominating from first to third place of the day overall just like the qualify of the season opener. No.100 RAYBRIG NSX wrapped up at fourth and three other NSXs followed behind. For SC 430s, No.38 ZENT CERUMO SC430's 10th place at 1 min 35.382 sec was the top among the fleet. It became a petty anxious first day of testing for Toyota en route to the next round in Okayama as well as the third round at Fuji, the home track of SC430.
Looking to the GT300 class, No.77 CUSCO DUNLOP SUBARU IMPREZA kept its good rhythm in the afternoon session, but it was Sasaki this time, marking 1 min 42.747 sec at a little over 30 minutes into the session. At the end of the day, Sasaki's time became the fastest time of the day for the GT300 class. No.26 YUNKER POWER TAISAN PORSHE listed at second place again to replicate the morning session.
Second day of testing started with morning session commencing again at 9:30 AM. Just like the first day, the track remained wet from the rain that showered the night before. The session initiated with overcast sky that looked like the rain was about to drop. At about ten minutes into the session, the weather changed drastically. Large drops of rain poured down on the circuit, and even hail hit the ground of Fuji Speedway. Session was suspended for ten minutes due to the Mother Nature event. Weather improved very quickly after session resumed, just like the previous day. Nevertheless, the track surface did not dry up as quickly. SUPER GT cars improved their times as the condition got better. With the session remaining less than 20 minutes to go, the record line started to dry up, and No.100 RAYBRIG NSX (Yuji Ide/Shinya Hosokawa) driven by Hosokawa marked 1 min 36.368 sec which became the top time of the session.
In the GT300 class, No.77 CUSCO DUNLOP SUBARU IMPREZA (Tetsuya Yamano/Kota Sasaki) started off the day well again with Yamano marking 1 min 45.765 sec. No.46 MOLA LEOPALACE Z came in second with 1 min 46.034 sec and No.88 DGRQ GALLARDO RG-3 (Hideshi Matsuda/Naohiro Furuya), who could not run in the race at the season opener due to some problems, followed at third with 1 min 46.117 sec.
Afternoon session started at 2 PM with light rain shower falling on the track right after the start. Fortunately, clear sky showed out in the clouds after some while, enabling the session to be run in dry-condition despite the clouds.
About an hour into the session, No.100 RAYBRIG NSX bettered the time that No.12 GT-R had recorded the previous day with 1 min 34.333 sec. And then, No.32 EPSON NSX lapped at the best with 1 min 34.299 sec which put NSXs on the first and second place on the timing monitor. No.3 YellowHat YMS TOMICA GT-R (Ronnie Quintarelli/Naoki Yokomizo) with 1 min 34.337 sec was at third place. No.38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 with 10th best time overall at 1 min 35.048 sec was the leader among SC430s.
NISMO's development car, No.230 GT-R, only made about 10 laps the day before, but showed good runs today. NISMO General Manager Kunihiko Kakiomoto explained, "We had a gearbox problem yesterday so we couldn't run very much. We are working around the aerodynamics mainly on the load rack for Fuji spec. We are positioning the car as advanced development car, and we have (tests for) next year too, so we are trying many things on the car comprehensively as we lack data as well as field testing at Fuji Speedway."
Looking to the GT300 class in the afternoon, No.26 YUNKER POWER TAISAN PORSCHE (Nobuteru Taniguchi/Shinichi Yamaji) favoring Fuji marked 1 min 43.377 sec. No.11 JIMGAINER DIXCEL ADVAN F430 (Tetsuya Tanaka/Masayuki Ueda) followed at second with 1 min 43.767 sec. But the overall best of the GT300 class in the two-day testing went to the time recorded by No.77 car.