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.
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.
#3 CRAFTSPORTS MOTUL Z
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.
#18 UPGARAGE NSX GT3
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.
Fuji testing times (GT500 class):
|15||64||Nakajima Honda|| Takuya Izawa
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