The FUJIMAKI GROUP MOTEGI GT 300km RACE, Round 7 of the 2020 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series was held on the afternoon of November 8 (Sun) at Twin Rings Motegi (one lap 4,801m x 63 laps) in Tochigi Pref. In the GT500 class, the No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT (Tomoki Nojiri/Nirei Fukuzumi) took the lead from a 2nd-position start to run away to its first win of the season. In the GT300 class, the No. 56 Realize Nissan Automobile Technical College GT-R (Kiyoto Fujinami/Joao Paulo de Oliveira) took its second win of the season.
This was the second race of the series to be held this year at Motegi, after the Round 4 race in September that had been held without spectators due to precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. This Round 7 race, however, was held in the usual lively SUPER GT atmosphere with spectators again, although various restrictions were observed in light of the continuing pandemic. There had been worries about the weather, but as it turned out the skies were clear and the air temperature at a comfortable 22 degrees Celsius for the race that started at 1:00 in the afternoon.
The race saw the pole-starting No. 64 Modulo NSX-GT (Hiroki Otsu) take the lead in the early going, but a pursuing No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT (Tomoki Nojiri) that had started from 2nd position on the grid caught and passed No. 64 on the 10th lap to take the lead. Once in the lead, Nojiri expanded his lead before making a rather early routine pit stop. With this, No. 64 followed suit just before the race stopped when a GT300 class car ran off the track. When the Safety Car was brought out because of the accident, this gave the two lead NSX-GT cars [in the pit] an exceptional advantage.
After the Safety Car was withdrawn and the race restarted, the No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT (now driven by Nirei Fukuzumi) pulled away quickly from the No. 64 Modulo NSX-GT (Takuya Izawa) in 2nd place and built up a runaway lead. By the end of the race, car No. 8 had extended its lead over 2nd to a massive 46 sec. to take its first win of the season. Car No. 64 finished the race in 2nd place while 3rd place went to the No. 100 RAYBRIG NSX-GT (Naoki Yamamoto/Tadasuke Makino), and they were followed by three more NSX-GT cars to give Honda a sweep of the top five places at their home course. Six and seventh places went to the No. 37 KeePer TOM’S GR Supra (Ryo Hirakawa/Kenta Yamashita) and the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/Ronnie Quintarelli).
The No. 17 KEIHIN NSX-GT (Koudai Tsukakosi/Bertrand Baguette) now stand at the top of the Drivers ranking for the series title, but in an unprecedently close race, 10 cars still have a shot at the title in the final round to be held at Fuji Speedway (Nov. 29).
In the GT300 class race, the pole-starting No. 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT (Hideki Yamauchi gradually extended its lead. But soon after the race reached to point where the teams could begin making their routine pit stops, a GT300 machine ran off the track [which stopped the race] and the No. 4 GOODSMILE HATSUNE MIKU AMG (Nobuteru Taniguchi/Tatsuya Kataoka) and No. 56 Realize Nissan Automobile Technical College GT-R (Kiyoto Fujinami/Joao Paulo de Oliveira) that had already finished their pit stops at that time found themselves in the race for the lead. In this one-on-one race, car No. 56 took its second win of the season, following the one in Round 5. Finishing in 2nd for its second straight podium finish was car No. 4. Third place went to the No. 360 RUNUP RIVAUX GT-R (Takayuki Aoki/Takuya Otaki).
（Spectators: 15,600 / Qualifying spectators: 9,300）
No.8 ARTA NSX-GT
“As soon as I caught up to the early leader (No. 64), I wanted to pass it right away. With strong determination I was able to make the overtake with good timing. I was also fortunate to be able to expand my lead after that. The team did a great job of preparing the car for us, and we got a lot of great development cooperation from Honda to increase the potential of the NSX-GT for all the teams. I think that is what led to this performance in the race.”
“Until now, we had often been able to start from up front [pole position] but the races had not gone well, so I felt worried again today … (shedding tears). I am glad that we were finally able to win. I want to thank everyone.”
No. 56 Realize Nissan Automobile Technical College GT-R
“I am really so very happy! Things weren’t going badly for us this time, but our rivals were really fast. In the last race as well, we benefitted from the timing of the Safety Car intervention, but this time we were able to set the tab straight, so it was really great. As long as we are in this environment with this team, we need to produce [good] results, and we have gotten help from the school’s students as well, and we are grateful for the nearly 300 who came out to cheer for us today. It is good now to be at the top of the standings, but we can’t get complacent. We want to finish the final round in the best way possible.”
Joao Paulo de Oliveira
“Thank you, everyone! We were in a tough position where we had to control the race. It was a long stint [in the second half] and Taniguchi-san in car No. 4 was closing in. Still, I was able to enjoy the race, and since we are now the leaders in the championship title race, this has really been good.”
Source. Super GT