The FUJIMAKI GROUP MOTEGI GT 300km RACE, Round 4 of the 2020 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series was held on September 13 (Sun) at Twin Rings Motegi (one lap 4,801m x 63 laps) in Tochigi Pref. In the GT500 class, the No.17 KEIHIN NSX-GT (Koudai Tsukakoshi/Bertrand Baguette) took its second runaway win of the season just as it did in Round 2 at Fuji Speedway. In the GT300 class, the No. 65 LEON PYRAMID AMG (Naoya Gamou/Togo Suganami) came back from a 13th grid start to take the win.
As with the past three rounds, Round 4 at Twin Rings Motegi was also held without spectators as a countermeasure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. As for the weather, the rain that had been reared never appeared and the race was held in great conditions with an air temperature of 27 degrees Celsius before the start.
In the early stages of the race, the pole-starting No. 38 ZENT GR Supra (Yuji Tachikawa) took the lead followed closely by the No. 17 KEIHIN NSX-GT (Bertrand Baguette) and the No. 64 Modulo NSX-GT (Takuya Izawa). The superior speed of car No. 17 enabled it to pass the lead car No. 38 at an opportune moment when it got caught behind GT300 class back markers. Once in the lead, No. 17 expanded its lead over No. 38 in 2nd place.
During the race the Safety Car was brought out twice, and even though each time car No. 17 suffered by losing its margin of lead, but during the second stint the second driver Tsukakoshi was able to stretch out the team’s lead again with his inherent speed. In the end he was able to take the win with a big 8-second lead over car No. 38 (Hiroaki Ishiura). For the team, it was their second win of the season following the win at Fuji in Round 2, and it took the No. 17 KEIHIN NSX-GT driver pair of Tsukakoshi and Baguette to the top of the Driver ranking.
Finishing the race 2nd was the No. 38 ZENT GR Supra (Yuji Tachikawa/Hiroaki Ishiura), while 3rd place went to the No.16 Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT (Hideki Mutoh/Ukyo Sasahara). The top finisher among the NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT500 cars was the No. 3 CRAFTSPORTS MOTUL GT-R (Kohei Hirate/Katsumasa Chiyo) in 7th place.
In the early stages of the GT300 class race, Aoki in the pole-starting No. 360 RUNUP RIVAUX GT-R (Takayuki Aoki/Yusaku Shibata) built up a lead over the pack. But by the time all of the cars had finished their routine pit stops, the leader was the leader was Gamou in the No. 65 LEON PYRAMID AMG (Naoya Gamou/Togo Suganami) that had succeeded in a big jump up from a 13th-position start. For this team that has won two out of its three races at Motegi since 2017, they succeeded in winning their first victory of the season thanks to a strategy of making no tire change in their routine pit stop. Car No. 360, which had held 2nd place until the last stages of the race came to a stop before the finish due to machine trouble. This gave 2nd place to the No. 88 JLOC Lamborghini GT3 (Takashi Kogure/Yuya Motojima) and 3rd place went to the No. 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT (Takuto Iguchi/Hideki Yamauchi).
No.17 KEIHIN NSX-GT
“This is thanks to Baguette’s strong run. I didn’t cry at our last win (in Round 2 at Fuji) but I couldn’t hold back the tears this time because it is a win in my native Tochigi. I am really so happy. Though I will be basking in the afterglow of this win today, from tomorrow I will be preparing for the next round so that we can win our first season championship.”
“Today’s win was in the same pattern as our win at Fuji in Round 2 (a runaway win despite interventions by the Safety Car). I really wanted to catch the leading car No. 38 (ZENT GR Supra) faster than I did. That caused me to (put too much wear on) the front tires, but it helped us when the Safety Car came out. As with Round 2, we owe this win to the team and the Bridgestone tires.”
No.65 LEON PYRAMID AMG
“In addition to the way the race played out, I didn’t expect our [no-tire-change] strategy to go this well. This package of our car and the Bridgestone tires really fit the Motegi course perfectly, and I’m glad we were able to take advantage of this. I’m really relieved that we were able to win.”
“Last year (after joining the team from Round 6), there were races where we had the chance to win but couldn’t, and this year we had the speed but couldn’t win. That is why I am so happy to get this first win (for Suganami personally).
Source. Super GT