The second day of the Super GT automakers’ joint test was held at Fuji Speedway on March 24. The top times of the GT500 class were logged by the Lexus RC F fleet. The first, second and third top times were logged by Andrea Caldarelli and Ryo Hirakawa.
Just like the first day, the track condition was also dry on the second day. The morning and afternoon sessions took about four and a half hours. The five Lexus RC Fs outfitted with Bridgestone tires all logged the top times on the time sheets of the morning and afternoon sessions. All five cars were in the top 7, with three of them ranking first, second, and third.
The #37 KeePer TOM’S RC F (Caldarelli & Hirakawa) logged the best time of 1’28.182. The #38 ZENT CERUMO RC F (Yuji Tachikawa & Hiroaki Ishiura) and the #6 ENEOS SUSTINA RC F (Kazuya Oshima & Yuji Kunimoto) finished second and third. The #64 Epson NSX CONCEPT-GT outfitted with Dunlop tires (Daisuke Nakajima & Baguette) finished fourth, the best finish for Team Honda. The #39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD RC F (Kohei Hirate & Heikki Kovalainen) finished fifth place, beating their time record the previous day.
The #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R outfitted with Bridgestone tires (Hironobu Yasuda & JoÃ£o Paulo de Oliveira) finished sixth, the best finish for Team Nissan. The second day’s 1’28.976 time is almost the same as the first day’s overall best time of 1’28.970.
At any rate, the rank or best time logged at the test does not always indicate the results of the actual race. With just these results, it is difficult to say that the Lexus outfitted with Bridgestone tires will dominate at Fuji. Lexus didn’t win two races last year at Fuji, its home course. Bridgestone also failed to get the series title. Hence, the results of the second day are signs of Lexus’ determination and redoubled efforts.
Last year’s champion, the #1 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R outfitted with Michelin tires (Tsugio Matsuda & Ronnie Quintarelli), ranked 12th on the second day. It is possible that Nissan is focusing on their pace for the final race. From the 15 cars on the first day of the GT500 Class, only 14 participated on the second day. Due to an accident the previous day, the #8 ARTA NSX CONCEPT-GT outfitted with Bridgestone tires (Kosuke Matsuura & Tomoki Nojiri) suffered severe damage, rendering it unable to conduct testing on the second day.
There were 18 cars on the second day of testing in the GT300 Class. The #77 KSF Direction Ferrari 458 outfitted with Yokohama tires (Naoki Yokomizo, Kyosuke Mineo and Taiyo Iida) logged the fastest time of 1’37.093. The #7 Studie BMW Z4 (JÃ¶rg MÃ¼ller & Seiji Ara) and the #65 LEON SLS (Haruki Kurosawa & Naoya Gamou), both outfitted with Yokohama tires, ranked second and third. Meanwhile, the #31 TOYOTA PRIUS apr GT outfitted with Bridgestone tires (Koki Saga, Yuichi Nakayama & Kota Sasaki), who placed first on Day 1, ranked fourth.
Last year’s GT300 champions ranked fifth and sixth on the second day. Switching from BMW to Mercedes, last year’s drivers’ champion, the #0 GOODSMILE HATSUNE MIKU SLS outfitted with Yokohama tires (Nobuteru Taniguchi & Tatsuya Kataoka) ranked fifth. Meanwhile, the team champion #11 GAINER TANAX SLS outfitted with Dunlop tires (Katsuyuki Hiranaka) ranked sixth. BjÃ¶rn Wirdheim will still be Hiranaka’s racing partner this year, but he did not participate on the second day of testing.
The opening race of the 2015 Super GT Series will be held at Okayama International Circuit from April 4 to 5. The second race and fourth race will be held at Fuji, scheduled on May 2 and 3, and August 8 and 9 respectively.
(Translated by Katherine N. Bantiles)