New Toyota SUPER GT aero an improvement, say drivers
Toyota SUPER GT drivers say the changes the marque has made to the aerodynamics of its GR Supra contender for the 2022 season are an “improvement”.
Following its unexpected title win last year, Toyota said it would consider a move away from the GR Supra’s low-drag, low-downforce philosophy, which had resulted in it often dominating at Fuji Speedway but struggling at other tracks.
Toyota’s six GT500 cars have been spotted sporting revised front bodywork sections throughout winter testing so far in an ostensible bid to improve front downforce.
Ahead of this weekend’s opening pre-season test at Okayama, TOM’S driver Sacha Fenestraz says that while the new aero parts have also created some other problems, overall he feels the performance of the GR Supra has improved.
“They are still developing but it is an improvement,” Fenestraz told Motorsport.com. “It has made certain other parts of the car worse, but overall it is better, so that’s good.
“I think that’s going to help us a lot from what we saw in testing. It should help with the race pace and following other cars, which is an area where Honda was stronger.
“But straight line speed is not going to be our strongest point like before. In terms of drag, it’s more. So we’ll see how it goes at Fuji.”
Racing Project Bandoh’s Yuji Kunimoto offered a similar assessment to Fenestraz.
“It’s a big difference,” he told Motorsport.com. “I felt good downforce at the front, especially at Suzuka, so we can push a bit harder in the Esses. Definitely more grip at the front.”
Rookie Racing driver Kazuya Oshima noted that the new aero may have come at the cost of some rear-end stability, which he hopes Toyota can address in official testing.
“Now we are struggling a little with the rear grip, so I think we need to adjust the mechanical set-up a bit more,” Oshima told Motorsport.com. “Now it seems like our performance is better than last year, but the main issue is the rear grip.”
The most recent maker’s test at Suzuka, where 13 of this year’s 15 GT500 cars were in action, was dominated by Honda, which took a clean sweep of top times with its revised Honda NSX Type S-based contender.
Fenestraz expressed concern about the speed shown by Honda at Suzuka, adding that he expects Nissan’s all-new Z machine to be competitive as well.
“Honda was flying, they look really strong,” said the Franco-Argentine. “We are all a bit concerned about them. I think we won’t be as strong on the straight any more.
“And I know Nissan has been having some engine issues, but as soon as they find a solution for those, they will be up there as well.”
Oshima added: “I think this year will be a very tough season. Looks like Honda is very strong, so we need to improve.”
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