The Super GT Round 8 in Twin Ring Motegi conducted the official qualifying round on November 14, 2015. Six teams fought for the GT500 title in the fierce final round, but the Impul GT-R got the highest points for the qualifying round. However, there are also times when we cannot predict it as it is, including weather changes.
First, let us identify the six teams who were qualified for the GT500 Driver’s title.
â– GT500 Driver’s Top Points
66 points – #12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R (Drivers Hironobu Yasuda & J.P. De Oliveira / BS)
64 points – #1 Motul Autech GT-R ( Drivers Tsugio Matsuda & R. Quintarelli / MI)
53 points – #38 Zent Cerumo RC F (Yuji Tachikawa & Hiroaki Ishiura / BS)
50 points- #46 S Road MOLA GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama & Masataka Yanagida / MI)
49 points – #100 Raybrig NSX Concept- GT ( Naoki Yamamoto & Takuya Izawa / BS)
49 points – #36 Petronas TOM’s RC F (Daisuke Ito & J. Rossiter / BS)
Note: BS- Bridgestone tires; MI- Michelin tires
Since this season’s Super GT has no pole position points, the current point condition (above) obtained after the final round qualification did not change from the previous round. The top 10 for the finals will be given 20-15-11-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 points.
Next, this is what happens when you combine the current points ranking and the qualifying round order.
Qualifier 3: #100 NSX (Yamamoto & Izawa / BS) with 49 points
Qualifier 4: #36 RC F (Ito & Rossiter / BS) with 49 points
Qualifier 5: #12 GT-R (Yasuda & Oliveira / BS) with 66 points
Qualifier 6: #38 RC F (Tachikawa & Ishiura / BS) with 53 points
Qualifier 12: #1 GT-R (Matsuda & Quintarelli / MI) with 64 points
Qualifier 13: #46 GT-R (Motoyama & Yanagida / MI) with 50 points
Note: There’s a possibility of grid demotion until the start of the final round, but it is assumed that it will start in this order.
Further, the two leading cars fighting for championship title in front have no direct relation: the #37 RC F at the pole (A. Caldarelli & Ryo Hirakawa / BS), and the Qualifier 2 #64 NSX (Daisuke Nakajima & B. Baguette / Dunlop tires)
Either way, even though it seems that it will rain in the finals yet there is a tendency that the road condition would be dry, or if the road would be completely dry as predicted, it is clear that the top pointer #12 GT-R would win the title. If the #12 GT-R would rise to one place higher from the qualification round and make it to the goal at 4th place, the other four machines except the #1 GT-R would no longer be entitled to win the GT500 championship title. Even though it has a two-point narrow margin with the #1 GT-R, it still wouldn’t be easy to think about the qualification order since it could lose its chance to proceed to the final round when it could not exceed the #12 GT-R.
However, Matsuda of the #1 GT-R didn’t give up with their goal to successive championship. After the qualification round, he had a discussion with fellow Q1 driver Yanagi (of the #46), who used the GT-R equipped with Michelin (MI) tires but did not make it to Q2. Both of them did not have extreme hard feelings as their facial expressions showed; instead, they both shared the same thoughts after hearing the comment, “Despite the relevance of both tires and rainfall, I was able to do anything I could do as a driver.” In terms of tires used during the race in a rainy qualification round, it is unavoidable to have luck and misfortune towards the matching of tires and the rainfall.
Matsuda said, “It was okay with the partly wet road surface during our practice in the morning, but there was more water at the Q1 course. I think it would be different if the road was dry.” Moreover he added, “It seems that the roads will be dry tomorrow, so I think we can drive at a faster speed. If we are to include the results of our race with fellow rivals for the title, I think there is still a chance for us.” Then he said, “We weren’t able to do well today, but I believe that something good will happen tomorrow so we will do our best.”
On the other hand, the Team Manager Kazuyoshi Hoshino of the #12 Impul GT-R said, “We made progress with Bridgestone (BS) tires. We were able to show a strong camaraderie as we tested and developed the machine together. We are grateful for BS, therefore we have to work on these efforts as a team hereafter.” Even though there’s luck in this day as mentioned previously, despite the fact that most machines that were included in the top positions from the practice this morning used BS tires, it was also true that the MI tires worked excellently despite the rainy weather. Out of the previous four seasons, BS tires have also worked on full development for the Impul and other cars, even though the title owners of the previous three seasons have used MI tires.
As for the finals, Manager Hoshino said, “In fighting for championship in the Super GT, no matter how many strategies you prepare, if your assessment towards each situation is wrong, some competent machines would also fail.” Even so, he added, “We don’t intend to lose our focus, so we will continue to do our best tomorrow (without worrying about the ranking).
We aim for victory.” By taking the challenge to a championship, they aim to win the Champion title for their team after 20 years.
Five Lexus RC F machines were outfitted with BS tires, and majority of them had a huge opposite effect. There’s a possibility that those five machines equipped with BS tires will be included in 1st to 5th positions. In order for those machines to be included in the top 5, chances are the GT-R’s position should fall down because of an accident or machine trouble.
There’s a minimum chance for the #38 in 2nd position in the grid, and the #36 for victory, but even though it is very low, you can say that this low probability have gotten higher from the qualifying results of Lexus machines equipped with BS tires in the 1-4-6-7-10 grid positions.
It was difficult for the #46 GT-R. On top of getting a very low chance of victory, it qualified for the 13th position, yet the #1 GT-R is the only team that use the same tires with them. So it was difficult for them to aim for a huge progress. The #100 NSX, which is 3rd in the grid position, would not win; it could not proceed to the finals. It has a good grid placement, and it also uses the same BS tires considering it being in an upper position, but its real ally (Honda machines) were in farther positions, thus that is its weak point against Lexus. The #64 NSX, which is 2nd in the grid, was outfitted with tires from a different brand, so both cars don’t have a high possibility of driving in good condition.
Even so, the final round for this season has many anticipated developments. The future of a 250km race will be determined with 53 laps. The parade lap for the final round will start at 1:40 PM on November 15, 2015.
(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)