Tsuboi feels "back to usual self" after pacing Suzuka test

Sho Tsuboi says he feels “back to his usual self” after topping both days of this week’s opening Super Formula pre-season test at Suzuka.

Tsuboi feels "back to usual self" after pacing Suzuka test
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Inging driver Tsuboi endured a dreadful 2021 season in which he managed just two points finishes and a best finish of seventh on his way to 15th in the standings, despite having placed third overall with two victories the year prior.

But he started his 2022 campaign in the best possible way as he set the pace at Suzuka on both Monday and Tuesday, beating reigning champion Tomoki Nojiri to the fastest time of the week by 0.060 seconds on the opening day.

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While cautious not to read too much into his performance at Suzuka, Tsuboi struck an upbeat note speaking to Motorsport.com, saying the test vindicated the work he and his Inging team had performed during the winter.

“During the off-season I discussed everything with the team, we decided to go back to basics and changed the system inside the team and the set-up, and I think this has led to this result,” said Tsuboi. 

“It’s a test and everyone is still finding out what works and what doesn’t, so we can’t say this is the real competitive order, but it’s positive I can show this kind of performance, and as a driver it’s always nice to be first, so I can be confident.”


Tsuboi added that winning last year’s SUPER GT title alongside TOM’S teammate Yuhi Sekiguchi has helped him to restore some of the confidence that ebbed away over the course of his difficult Super Formula campaign last year.

“Because I was able to win the championship in SUPER GT, I was able to remind myself I’m not such a lousy driver,” he said. “And even at this test I was able to get the top time, so in a sense I regained some confidence, and I think I went back to being my usual self.”

Inging engineering reshuffle boosts Tsuboi

Tsuboi explained that one of the changes within Inging has been to move Kotaro Tanaka, who had served as race engineer to Tsuboi’s teammate Sena Sakaguchi last year, into a more general role overseeing both of the team’s cars.

Sakaguchi is now being engineered by ex-Bandoh GT500 man Hiroyuki Hayashi, while Tsuboi continues with Yoshinari Suganuma for another season.

“This way, the amount of information has increased by a huge amount, and it’s becoming easier to do things,” said Tsuboi. “The personnel have not changed that much, but I think everybody’s role has become clearer now. 

“Until last year there was just one track engineer per driver, but now it feels like we’ve added a chief engineer to that.”



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