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Studie confident of title bid in second year with BMW M4 GT3

The Studie BMW team is confident it can mount a challenge for 2023 SUPER GT title honours in its second year with the M4 GT3, after a promising but inconsistent debut season for the car last year.

BMW M4 GT3, BMW Team Studie

Studie enjoyed a breakthrough 2022 campaign as it switched to the all-new M4 GT3 and an all-pro driver line-up, with factory BMW driver Augusto Farfus brought on board to partner team stalwart Seiji Ara for most of the season.

Ara managed to secure the team's first SUPER GT win as an independent outfit alongside Tsubasa Kondo, who was deputising for an absent Farfus, at Suzuka en route to ninth in the standings.

However, the Michelin-shod BMW was only able to score points on two other occasions, scoring fifth in the wet at Sugo and ninth at Motegi.

According to Studie team boss Yasuaki 'Bob' Suzuki, having a year's worth of data with tyre supplier Michelin will make a big difference to the team's prospects as it goes into the 2023 season.

"I’m confident we can fight for the championship this season," Suzuki told Motorsport.com. "The most important thing is that this season we have tyre data. Last year, we didn’t have any data.

"During the pre-season, we did four tyre tests and every single time it rained! It was always wet. So we didn’t have any dry tyre data. But then in the season itself, almost all the races were dry. That made it difficult. But now we have the data from last year, so this year we should be stronger."

BMW M4 GT3, BMW Team Studie

BMW M4 GT3, BMW Team Studie

Photo by: Motorsport.com / Japan

Lead driver Ara expressed a similar opinion to Suzuki, and hopes to be able to score multiple victories this season.

"The car itself is the same as last year, but it’s the second season with Michelin tyres, and now we have the data, so I’m hoping we can win two or three races and fight for the championship until the last race," Ara told Motorsport.com.

"The tyre is the most important thing about these SUPER GT races. This year we need to be more consistent in every race. Sometimes we were very strong last year but we couldn’t be consistent."

Studie goes into the 2023 season with a new driver line-up, with Bruno Spengler replacing his fellow works BMW driver Farfus as the squad's second driver.

Farfus had been keen to stay on with the team for a second year but ultimately his commitments in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and GT World Challenge Europe made this an impossibility.

"Augusto was a very nice guy, so I am very sad to lose him," admitted Suzuki. "I haven’t met Bruno yet, we’ll have our first contact for the Okayama pre-season test in the middle of March.

"But he was a DTM champion, and this is a championship where we see many crazy battles, so I’m looking forward to seeing his driving."

Suzuki clarified that as well as the Okayama opener, Spengler is set to appear in the August Suzuka race, September's Sugo round and the season finale at Motegi, with plans for the remaining four races undecided.

Two-time GT500 champion Masataka Yanagida will join Ara for any races Spengler does not attend.

 

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