TOM'S, Tsuboi continue perfect SUPER GT testing run at Fuji

Toyota and TOM'S topped the opening day of SUPER GT's Fuji Speedway pre-season test, with Sho Tsuboi continuing his perfect record of fastest times during official running this winter.

TOM'S, Tsuboi continue perfect SUPER GT testing run at Fuji
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After topping both days of the first official pre-season test at Okayama earlier this month, reigning champion Tsuboi once again sent the #36 Toyota GR Supra to the top of timesheets during a rain-disrupted morning session on Saturday.

Tsuboi's best time of 1m27.942s came around 40 minutes into the two-hour session when the track was as its best - after the track had more or less dried following an early sprinkling of rain around when the session began.

That was enough to put the #36 Supra 0.197s ahead of Nissan driver Ronnie Quintarelli in the best of the brand-new Zs, the #23 NISMO machine.

Third-fastest was the Yokohama-shod Racing Project Bandoh Toyota of Sena Sakaguchi, whose best lap came towards the end of the session after a second shower, ahead of Kenta Yamashita in the Rookie Racing GR Supra and Mitsunori Takaboshi in the second of the NISMO Nissans, the #3 car.

Best of the Honda NSX Type S contingent was the #17 Real Racing machine, which was seventh-fastest in the hands of Nobuharu Matsushita.

The only red flag of the session came in the closing minutes when Ukyo Sasahara's Mugen Honda suffered a high-speed puncture along the start/finish straight, spewing debris all over the track. Sasahara was able to bring the #16 NSX-GT to a controlled stop.

Owing to the poor weather forecast, the afternoon session was shortened from two hours to one, and sure enough it was held entirely in full wet conditions, meaning none of the 15 GT500 cars improved their morning laptimes.



Photo by: Masahide Kamio

Setting the pace was Katsumasa Chiyo in the #3 Nissan on a 1'37.628s, leading a NISMO one-two ahead of Tsugio Matsuda in the #23 car. Third-fastest was Hiroaki Ishiura in the Cerumo Toyota.

As per the morning, an accident brought the session to an early end, with Gainer newcomer Yusuke Shiotsu crashing the #10 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 at Turn 3 in the treacherous conditions.

UpGarage Honda fastest in GT300

Leading in the GT300 class was the Team UpGarage Honda NSX GT3 of Takashi Kobayashi, who set a best time of 1m36.230s to beat the second-placed Subaru BRZ of Hideki Yamauchi by the better part of four tenths.

The two JLOC Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos were third- and fourth- quickest, Takashi Kogure in the #88 car leading the sister #87 car of Natsu Sakaguchi, while the LEON Mercedes-AMG GT3 was fifth in the hands of Naoya Gamou.

Kobayashi's rookie teammate Kakunoshin Ota put the UpGarage Honda on top again in the afternoon with a best time of 1m46.308s.



Photo by: Masahide Kamio

Making their first public appearances of the winter on Saturday were the #2 Inging Toyota GR86 and the #25 Tsuchiya Engineering GR Supra, both of which were absent from the Okayama test.

The Inging machine was sixth-fastest in the morning, best of the GR86 contingent, while the 'Hoppy' Supra propped up the GT300 timesheets in 27th.

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Fuji testing times (GT500 class):

Pos. No. Car/Team Drivers Morning Afternoon
1 36 TOM'S Toyota

France Giuliano Alesi

Japan Sho Tsuboi

1'27.942 1'40.370
2 23 NISMO Nissan

Italy Ronnie Quintarelli

Japan Tsugio Matsuda

1'28.139 1'37.768
3 19 Bandoh Toyota

Japan Yuji Kunimoto

Japan Sena Sakaguchi

1'28.263 1'41.938
4 14 Rookie Toyota

Japan Kenta Yamashita

Japan Kazuya Oshima

1'28.450 1'40.298
5 3 NDDP Nissan

Japan Katsumasa Chiyo

Japan Mitsunori Takaboshi

1'28.466 1'37.628
6 24 Kondo Nissan

Japan Kohei Hirate

Japan Daiki Sasaki

1'28.608 1'42.320
7 17 Real Honda

Japan Koudai Tsukakoshi

Japan Nobuharu Matsushita

1'28.647 1'40.260
8 100 Kunimitsu Honda

Japan Naoki Yamamoto

Japan Tadasuke Makino

1'28.648  1'39.465
9 38 Cerumo Toyota

Japan Yuji Tachikawa

Japan Hiroaki Ishiura

1'28.654 1'38.788
10 37 TOM'S Toyota

France Sacha Fenestraz

Japan Ritomo Miyata

1'28.718 1'40.740
11 8 ARTA Honda

Japan Tomoki Nojiri

Japan Nirei Fukuzumi

1'29.039 1'39.073
12 12 Impul Nissan

Belgium Bertrand Baguette

Japan Kazuki Hiramine

1'29.084 1'41.859
13 16 Mugen Honda

Japan Ukyo Sasahara

Japan Toshiki Oyu

1'29.110 1'41.965
14 39 SARD Toyota

Japan Yuhi Sekiguchi

Japan Yuichi Nakayama

1'29.128 1'40.606
15 64 Nakajima Honda  Japan Takuya Izawa

Japan Hiroki Otsu

1'29.323 1'40.755

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