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Super GT Fuji II

Tsuchiya Supra destroyed in fire: ‘It could take years to return’

Tsuchiya Engineering's Toyota GR Supra GT300 car was destroyed by a fire in last weekend's Fuji SUPER GT race, and the team has admitted a return to the championship could take "years".

The #25 Hoppy-sponsored car driven by Seita Nonaka and Togo Suganami was consumed in a blaze that began on lap 66 of 100, and caused the race to be red-flagged two laps later as marshals struggled to contain the fire.

Earlier in the race, the Tsuchiya-run #244 Max Racing Supra of Atsushi Miyake and Kimiya Sato also retired after suffering a fire, albeit a much less dramatic one that was quickly brought under control.

The #244 car had been seen shedding part of its exhaust pipe before the fire took hold, but it also transpired that the badly-charred #25 machine was also missing its exhaust pipe when it was brought back to the pits.

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Team owner Takeshi Tsuchiya told Motorsport.com's Japanese edition: "First of all, I am very sorry for causing the race to be stopped and inconveniencing everybody.

"The end of the exhaust pipe fell off, and the heat of the exhaust set the car on fire. [In the case of the #25 car] the heat most likely burned the fuel line, and the whole thing went up in flames.

"We didn’t make any mistake preparing the car, but if the same thing happened on both cars, then perhaps it’s a weak point structurally."

 

Asked about the extent of the damage to the #25 car, Tsuchiya said it was now in an "unusable" state due to damage to the chassis, dismissing any hope of being ready in time for the next race at Suzuka this month.

But he stressed a desire to return to SUPER GT at some point in future with a new car.

"Because we are a privateer making our own car, we can’t just buy another one, and we already spent a lot of money on this one, so we don’t have money to buy parts," said Tsuchiya.

"Rather than speaking about the next race, we’re in a situation where we have no car and no money.

"But, Hoppy and our other sponsors won’t leave us. Seita also is uninjured. Nobody has disappeared. At this stage, we don’t know when and how, but we will definitely return.

"I don’t want to extinguish the light of the privateer. It could take years, but I want to assemble a [new] car and return properly. That’s all I can think about right now."

Nonaka was at the wheel of the #25 car at the time of the fire, and appeared to escape uninjured. He was taken to hospital as a precaution, but was released some hours later and reunited with the team at Fuji.

He was seen sharing an embrace with Tsuchiya, who apologised to his driver and thanked him for his efforts to prevent the burning car from rolling downhill when it was stopped.

Motorsport.tv is showing all qualifying sessions and races for the 2023 SUPER GT season. For more information, click here.

 

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