Last week we have seen an action packed Formula 1 season opener at Bahrain. Unlike 2009 season, the return of Michael Schumacer has brought enormous of attraction to it. So the 2010 F1 is the best ever with 4 former champions Alonso, Button, Hamilton, Schumacher battling for glory...
So this weekend is the season opener of one of my favorite GT championship, the Japan's Super GT. I can't wait to see another close battle among the big boys again.
Honda NSX-GT, had withdrawn from the series as of the final round of last season. To succeed NSX's glorious footprint, Honda is fielding their first FR (Front-engine, Rear-wheel drive) layout SUPER GT machine, HSV-010 GT, this season. The car has demonstrated its outstanding potential in the corners at pre-season tests and gave shivers to the rivals. First objective for any of the Honda teams must be to complete a debut-win at Honda's home track, Suzuka. With newly enforced drivers line-up.
Nissan GT-Rs are running with their new engine. Having an over-sized 4.5-liter engine that exceeded regulated displacement last year, GT-R had to carry handicap weight throughout the whole season, but the new engine complies with the 3.4-liter displacement regulation and matches up with its two rivals. Without the handicap weight on the NISSAN cars, it is now a true head-to-head battle for the technology side too. Stumbling at the opening round last season and eventually losing the title owing partly to that, it must had been such a bitter season for No.23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama/Benoit Treluyer). For being a works team, winning the title is an absolute must, so they must be keened and committed to win the upcoming race.
Contrarily, no prominent changes are seen on the 2009 champion car LEXUS SC430. The 2010 car has gone under a normal evolution from last year, but the team structure as well as drivers line-up stay the same. Nevertheless, maturity level may be a step or even two steps ahead of the rivals. Maturity could become a huge advantage especially in the first half of the season where initial problems frequently occur. Defending champion No.1 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 (Juichi Wakisaka/Andre Lotterer) and last year's Suzuka (Rd.2) winner, No.38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 (Yuji Tachikawa/Richard Lyons), should be the two main teams of the fleet, but No.6 ENEOS SC430 (Ito/ Bjorn Wirdheim) , with Daisuke Ito going into his third year after moving to LEXUS, and the winner of last year's Pokka GT (Rd.6 Suzuka), No.35 MJ KRAFT SC430 (Hiroaki Ishiura/Kazuya Oshima), should be kept under the watch-out list also.
While in GT300 the defending champion Weds Sport IS350 (Manabu Orido/Tatsuya Kataoka) and other major players like No.7 M7 MUTIARA MOTORS AMEMIYA SGC 7 (Nobuteru Taniguchi/Ryo Orime) and No.43 ARTA Garaiya (Morio Nitta/Shinichi Takagi). No.2 APPLE K-ONE SHIDEN (Hiroki Katoh/Hiroshi Hamaguchi) looked strong at the official test held on March 5th and 6th. Team's ace driver remained to be Katoh, but he is now partnering with Hamaguchi, a SUPER GT rookie.
Some of my pass seasons GT300 cars...