Honda feels it made bigger SUPER GT engine step than rivals
Honda says it feels it has made a bigger step with its second SUPER GT engine this year than rival manufacturers Toyota and Nissan.
GT500 rules dictate that all crews can use two engines per season, and as such it is common practice for manufacturers to introduce an improved ‘Spec 2’ unit for use in the latter part of the season.
Toyota did so for August’s fifth round of the season at Suzuka, while Honda and Nissan both elected to introduce their respective second engines this month at Sugo.
While the mixed weather conditions meant that Honda’s three title-contending Bridgestone teams all suffered races to forget, the Sakura marque was nonetheless satisfied with the improvement in the NSX-GT’s top speed with the second engine.
Head of car development Tomohiro Onishi joked that “you can never have enough power!” when asked to evaluate the performance of Honda’s Spec 2 unit at Sugo, adding that he felt a similar step had been made to last year when the second engine was introduced.
“Last year when we brought in the second engine, I think we increased our performance quite a bit,” said Onishi. “It felt like we’d completed the whole package, and I think this year’s situation is similar to last year’s.
“The body of the car is homologated and we can’t change certain things, but I think the second engine is strong and matches the character of the car.
“It’s hard to be sure how much of a step our rivals made with their second engines, but I think we have made a greater step between our first and second engines.”
After a difficult race at Sugo, Honda’s top representative in the championship, the Real Racing crew of Koudai Tsukakoshi and Nobuharu Matsushita, sits fifth in the standings, 20 points off the lead ahead of this weekend’s penultimate round at Autopolis.
NSX-GT project leader Masahiro Saiki said he hopes that the improved engine performance will allow Honda to remain in the title fight until the final round of the season at Motegi.
“There has been mixed reaction to the engine, but the speed trap figures have improved and by and large it seems to be an improvement,” said Saiki.
“Up to now, the Hondas had been in the lower range in terms of the speed trap, but if we see where we are now, I think improving the potential of the engine has definitely had an effect.
“I want to use this to allow us to be in the championship fight for the last race.”
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