The FUJIMAKI GROUP SUZUKA GT 300km RACE, Round 3 of the 2021 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series took place at Suzuka Circuit (one lap 5,807m × 52 laps) in Mie Prefecture on the afternoon of August 22 (Sun). In the GT500 class, the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/Ronnie Quintarelli) displayed fantastic tactics to take a come-from-behind win, its third straight victory at Suzuka. In the GT300 class race, the No. 244 Takanoko-no-yu GR Supra GT (Atsushi Miyake/Yuui Tsutsumi) got their first win, for the team and the drivers.
Race day at Suzuka was cloudy, but some patches of blue sky also showed through, and just before the afternoon race the air temperature was hot at more than 30-degrees C. Due to a big crash in the warm-up before the start of the 52-lap race the start was delayed by 10 minutes to 2:40 in the afternoon.
In the GT500 class race, a battle for the lead developed between the pole-starting No. 64 Modulo NSX-GT (Takuya Izawa) and the 2nd and 3rd position grid starters, the No. 16 Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT (Toshiki Oyu) and the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Ronnie Quintarelli). But on the chicane of the fifth lap, car No. 64 crashed and dropped out of the race. This left car No. 23 and the No. 24 Realize corporation ADVAN GT-R (Daiki Sasaki) chasing car No. 16. By the end of the 25th lap of the race, when the GT500 class cars had finished making their routine pit stops, the race for the lead was down to four NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT500 cars, the No. 3 CRAFTSPORTS MOTUL GT-R (Kohei Hirate), the No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Nobuharu Matsushita) and car No. 23 (Tsugio Matsuda) and No. 24 (Mitsunori Takaboshi). It was from here that Matsuda in car No. 23 began a magnificent charge to the front, passing car No. 12 to move into 2nd place. He then went on to pass car No. 3 at the hairpin turn of the 41st lap to take the lead and gradually began to expand his margin of lead over his pursuers. At one point there were sprinklings of rain over the western side of the course, but it didn’t affect the track much and Matsuda was able to race on to the win. This was the first win of the season for the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R team and its third in a row at Suzuka since last year. This is the first time that the same GT500 class team has won three straight victories at this course with the same car and the same drivers. Finishing in 2nd place this time was the No. 3 CRAFTSPORTS MOTUL GT-R (Kohei Hirate/Katsumasa Chiyo), while 3rd place went to the No. 24 Realize corporation ADVAN GT-R (Mitsunori Takaboshi/Daiki Sasaki), thus diving the GT-R teams a sweep of the podium. Finishing in 4th place was a Honda NSX-GT car, the No. 1 STANLEY NSX-GT (Naoki Yamamoto/Tadasuke Makino), while 5th place went to a TOYOTA GR Supra GT500 team, the No. 36 au TOM’S GR Supra (Yuhi Sekiguchi/Sho Tsuboi).
In the GT300 class race, the pole-starting No. 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT (Hideki Yamauchi) started well but lost speed later, so the second half of the race developed into battle for the lead between the No. 5 MACHSYAKEN GTNET MC86 MACH GO (Yuya Hiraki/Reiji Hiraki) and the No. 244 Takanoko-no-yu GR Supra GT (Atsushi Miyake/Yuui Tsutsumi). Although car No. 5 (Reiji Hiraki) had managed to take the lead by adopting a no-tire-change strategy, car No. 244 (Yuui Tsutsumi) was able to maintain a faster pace and eventually pass the leader. This enabled the No. 244 team and its drivers to take their momentous first win in their second year of GT300 competition. Finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively were the No. 88 JLOC Lamborghini GT3 (Takashi Kogure/Yuya Motojima) and the No. 4 GOODSMILE HATSUNE MIKU AMG (Nobuteru Taniguchi/Tatsuya Kataoka). (Spectators: 11,500)
No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R
“When I got out on the track in the second half, I was in 4th position, and I thought that I should be able to get a podium finish, but I was upset by that. But that made me reach down deeper. And whenever I race here in my native Mie Prefecture, I always seem to find some extra strength inside me. When I saw an F1 race here at Suzuka when I was a child, it made me want to become a racer. So, I am very happy to have been able to concentrate on my race here at Suzuka and run in control of the car and the tires to have such a good race. For me, I feel that today was the best race I have run in my entire career, including formula racing.”
“Everyone, I want to thank you for cheering us on! As with last year here at Suzuka, the Nissan/NISMO team and the people at Michelin put together a great car for us that has enabled us to win a third straight victory here. When I got out of the pit (after running the first stint) I felt disappointed that I had lost ground for us, but Tsugio (Matsuda) san ran such a fantastic race that we were able to win.”
No. 244 Takanoko-no-yu GR Supra GT
“I made a mistake in yesterday’s qualifying, so I was determined to make up for that with my performance in the first stint and I was able to bring us back to the pit stop in the lead. That is why I feel that there has never been such a satisfying race for me in my SUPER GT career until now. I am so happy that we were able to win today.”
“I am so happy to get this win, but it was a race in which I surely made myself and everyone very nervous, which I regret. Still, I am very happy with today’s result.”
Source. Super GT
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