Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Stop GT-R! Lock your eyes on the new SC430 and homecoming NSX

Will GT-R mark 6 consecutive wins? Or will it be...
Unprecedented competitive landscape clears up in Suzuka!
Watch out for the full of excitements at the first big race for new Suzuka!!

On April 18th and 19th, 2009 AUTOBACS SUPER GT Round 2 "KEIHIN SUZUKA 2&4 RACE" will be held at Suzuka Circuit (Mie prefecture). It will be the first event to unveil the refurbished Suzuka Circuit which underwent comprehensive reconstruction that spanned to the grandstand and paddock facilities. As a matter of fact, not only the heat of SUPER GT, but the highest category of domestic motorcycle road racing, JSB1000, as well as a wide variety of events will be co-hosted at the circuit to offer a maximum excitement.

In the opening round at Okayama last month, No.24 HIS ADVAN KONDO GT-R (Joao Paulo de Oliveira / Seiji Ara), starting from third position on the grid, dominated the rainy race, achieving five consecutive wins for GT-R since the sixth round of last season. Another win for GT-R this weekend would mean to tie the winning streak record of six consecutive wins set by NSX in '98-'99 season. The winner of Suzuka round last year, No.1 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama / Benoit Treluyer), as well as No.12 IMPUL CALSONIC GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda / Sebastien Philippe) may need a close look at all the time in Suzuka.

But looking from a different perspective, the SC430 fleet with completely new cars for the season dominated the 1st and 2nd position in the qualifying of the season opener, that was held under a clear sky, with No.38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 (Yuji Tachikawa / Richard Lyons) snatching the pole position. In fact, there was only No.24 HIS GT-R out from GT-R camp in the top 8 of qualifying practice. By the pre-season prospect, it was believed that the competitive landscape would be established around with GT-R in the center, continuing its success from last year, but it seems very likely that the landscape would change dramatically.



Considering Suzuka is the home track of Honda, there is no reason to believe that the NSX fleet will not get fired up for the memorable race. However, despite the track being their home, the last time when an NSX won at Suzuka goes back seven long years to 2002. Nonetheless, No.18 ROCKSTAR DOME NSX (Ryo Michigami / Takashi Kogure) that finished second at the season opener as well as No.100 RAYBRIG NSX (Yuji Ide / Shinya Hosokawa) may very well get psyched up to climb on the top of podium.

No.21 ASTON MARTIN AKASAKA DBR9 that made its first appearance in the series at Okayama will not compete in the Suzuka race.

Battle of the winningest drivers and emerging young force; a lot of excitements are also offered on the drivers' side.
Yuji Tachikawa
Satoshi Motoyama

Newsworthy facts also lie in the drivers' aspect. Currently, Yuji Tachikawa (No.38 ZENT CERUMO SC430) and Satoshi Motoyama (No.1 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R) share the record for most wins in SUPER GT/JGTC at 10 wins each. In another words, if either of the two wins the race this weekend, the winner will be the sole record holder of the most wins, thus given all the rights to boast the mightiest in the SUPER GT series. Who would it be?

Takuya Izawa

Hiroaki Ishiura
It would also be interesting to see the battle among the younger generation of SUPER GT, including GT500 sophomores, Hiroaki Ishiura (No.35 KRAFT SC430) who was the second fastest in the qualifying at the season opener, and Takuya Izawa (No.8 ARTA NSX) who finished third in the race in Okayama, as well as the drivers spending their first regular GT500 season Koudai Tsukakoshi (No.17 KEIHIN NSX), Yuki Nakayama (No.32 EPSON NSX), Kazuya Oshima (No.35 KRAFT SC430), and Kohei Hirate (No.39 DUNLOP SARD SC430).

Attention please for '08 champion Z and '08 Suzuka winner RX-7!

The chaotic battle field of 2009 season applies to the GT300 class as well. Mid-engine machines showed great performances at the opening round. Race was won by No.19 Weds Sport IS350 (Manabu Orido / Tatsuya Kataoka) followed by No.43 ARTA Garaiya (Morio Nitta / Shinichi Takagi) at second, and No.11 JIMGAINER ADVAN F430 (Tetsuya Tanaka / Katsuyuki Hiranaka) started from the pole. It is most likely that these three will be consistent throughout the season, but with the unique characteristics of the track layout at Suzuka, anything can happen. For that, No.7 M7 MUTIARA MOTORS AMEMIYA SGC 7 and No.46 S Road MOLA Z may end up in the center of the stage. Winner of the last year's first round in Suzuka, No.7 RX-7 is looking good with a third finish at this year's season opener. On the other side, No.46 Z favors Suzuka, winning Pokka 1000km (in Suzuka) last season. Both teams saw new addition of proven drivers which gives them a spot on the list for the champion nominee of this season.

No.19 Weds Sport IS350

No.11 JIMGAINER ADVAN F430No.43 ARTA Garaiya

Who will win a triumph on the brand new podium at Suzuka Circuit? The excitement is just around the corner.

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