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Suzuka record SUPER GT lap left ARTA Honda's Oyu "numb"

Honda SUPER GT driver Toshiki Oyu says the unofficial lap record he set in last week’s Suzuka manufacturer test made him feel "numb".

#8 ARTA MUGEN NSX-GT

Oyu stunned the paddock when he posted a lap of 1m42.630s on the opening day of the two-day test last Thursday at the wheel of the #8 ARTA Honda NSX-GT he’ll race this year.

Such were the conditions that most of the cars present were able to lap faster than the existing pole record of 1m44.112s set last May, but Oyu’s time put the #8 entry he shares with Tomoki Nojiri half a second up on the field and almost 1.5s under the record.

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Looking back on his performance, Oyu said a number of factors came together for the lap to become possible, but admitted he pushed to the limit despite it only being a test.

“The conditions suited us perfectly, and the air density was high [offering higher downforce],” Oyu told Motorsport.com’s Japanese edition. “I think that the resurfacing [at the S-Curve, Turns 2 and 3] has also had an impact.

“We’re definitely going a lot faster through the first and second part of the S-Curve. Now the first part is nearly full throttle.

“Almost everyone was running in the 1m43s, but the fact we could get into the 1m42s was crazy. And that’s even considering the tyres weren’t the best ones that we brought. 

“I was attacking to the point where I was going numb. Even from testing the goal is to always be number one, so I was pushing to the maximum.”

Does Nissan have early advantage with new fuel?

Honda has been the dominant force of off-season testing so far, topping every group test day bar one, setting the pace at Fuji and Okayama as well as Suzuka.

However, Oyu warned that the picture could change when the whole field starts using carbon-neutral fuel from this weekend’s official Okayama pre-season test, as teams have been using a mix of the new fuel and regular gasoline up to now.

He suggested that Nissan might be experiencing the least amount of drop-off in power compared to standard fuel, with Honda said to be suffering slightly more.

 

“We’ve shown our speed in all the pre-season tests so far,” said Oyu. “So far there’s been a good rhythm and atmosphere [in the Honda camp], although for the #8 car there are still things to address.

“On the other hand, Toyota looks like it’s struggling a little, although I am sure they will come back in the Okayama and Fuji [official] tests. 

“Besides that, I think the main topic for each team is how to get the performance of the carbon-neutral fuel to the same level as normal fuel. It feels like Nissan has done well so far in finding a solution for that.”

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