Impul Nissan could have race pace edge over NISMO cars

Team Impul's Nissan Z showed a race pace advantage over the marque's two factory NISMO-operated cars in last weekend's Fuji pre-season test, says Bertrand Baguette.

Impul Nissan could have race pace edge over NISMO cars
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The iconic Calsonic-liveried Z shared by Baguette and Kazuki Hiramine did not feature towards the head of the timesheets during a rain-affected two-day test, as the pair ended up 13th-fastest on the combined timesheets with a 1m28.763s set by Baguette on the second day.

However, that time was set while the track was still drying, and put the #12 second among the four Nissans on that day, behind the NISMO-run #3 NDDP Racing machine.

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"We did quite a good laptime when the track was still a bit damp, especially around the last corner and 100R, so that's really positive," Baguette told "On the long run, we were really fast, and on one-lap pace we also found something really good.

"I think we need a few more tenths to be really fighting for pole at Okayama, but we are in much better shape than we were at the Okayama test for sure."

While unable to match the two Michelin-shod NISMO-run cars in the wet, with the #3 and #23 cars locking out the top two positions on both Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning when the track was fully wet, Baguette was more optimistic about the Bridgestone-shod Impul car's dry pace.

"In the wet, Michelin is stronger," admitted the Belgian. "They were doing quite impressive laptimes, maybe around one second quicker, which is quite a big gap. Not much we can do about that.

"But in the dry, over a long run, we were much faster than them. I don't know if they had the wrong tyre compound for the temperatures, but they seemed to be dropping off a lot at the end.

"On one lap I think my best time was only about a tenth slower than the #3, and it's always difficult to compare with traffic. The track was always changing as well because it was still wet. But I think we are not that far behind."


Impul heads into 2022 of the back of its best SUPER GT season in some years, having scored a first victory in five years at Sugo last year and ended up as Nissan's top representative in the drivers' standings for the first time since 2010.

Baguette believes that with the performance of the Z, matching last year's performance has to be the minimum aim for the team.

"To be honest I wish we had another 10 days of testing because we've so much stuff to do," said Baguette. "It's not easy being the only Nissan using Bridgestones, especially when NISMO has two cars on Michelins.

"I hope we will be ready for the first race, until then we'll work hard to understand the data and do more work on the simulator. But for sure the target is to win the championship.

"Last year the team was fighting for it until the last race, so we have to do the same this year."

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