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THE ARTA NSX-GT TAKES A DRAMATIC SUPER GT WIN AT AUTOPOLIS

The AUTOPOLIS 300km RACE, Round 6 of the 2021 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series, was held at the AUTOPOLIS (one lap 4.674 km x 65 laps) in Oita Prefecture on the afternoon of October 24 (Sun). In the GT500 class race, the No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT (Tomoki Nojiri/Nirei Fukuzumi) started from 4th position on the grid but managed to run away to victory in the second half for their first win of the season. In the GT300 class, the No. 31 TOYOTA GR SPORT PRIUS PHV apr GT (Koki Saga/Yuhki Nakayama) ran from pole position to the win in impressive style.

Under fair skies at Autopolis and with the air temperature at 16℃. The 65-lap race started at 1:30 in the afternoon. The start of the GT500 class saw the No. 14 ENEOS X PRIME GR Supra (Kenta Yamashita) take the lead in the first lap, but because the team had opted to use its third engine of the season (only two engines are allowed under the regulation), a stop penalty was imposed and dropped it back in the pack. This gave the race lead back to the pole-starting No. 16 Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT (Toshiki Oyu). On the 9th lap of the race, however, a crash by a GT300 class machine brought out the Safety Car to control the race. Then, shortly after the restart of the race, a wheel came off the leading car No. 16. Eventually this took No. 16 out of the race and allowed the No. 64 Modulo NSX-GT (Takuya Izawa) to take the lead position. In the 19th lap of the race, there was another crash by a GT300 car that brought out the Safety Car for a second time and after this, the teams began to take their routine pit stops.


From there, the race turned into a fierce battle between the last car to make its pit stop, car No. 64 and the No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT (Tomoki Nojiri). After holding off several determined assaults by No. 64, it was car No. 8 that gradually began to open up a lead until it was running alone ahead of its rival. In contrast, No. 64’s pace began to slow in the closing stages of the race and it gradually fell back in the field. This led to an intense battle for the remaining podium places between the No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD GR Supra (Yuichi Nayayama) and the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda), the No. 1 STANLEY NSX-GT (Naoki Yamamoto) and the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO GR Supra (Hiroaki Ishiura).


In the end, the No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT (Tomoki Nojiri/Nirei Fukuzumi) ran on to their first win of the season. Holding its pace to end up in 2nd place was to No. 38 ZENT CERUMO GR Supra (Yuji Tachikawa/Hiroaki Ishiura), while the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/Ronnie Quintarelli) finished in 3rd place give one spot each on the podium to Honda NSX-GT, TOYOTA GR Supra GT500 and NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT500 teams.

In the GT300 class race, the pole-starting No. 31 TOYOTA GR SPORT PRIUS PHV apr GT (Koki Saga/Yuhki Nakayama) managed to effectively maintain its race lead through two Safety Car interventions in the course of the race. In the latter half of the race, Koki Saga maintained his lead with impeccable skill to take the win. Finishing in 2nd place was the No. 96 K-tunes RC F GT3 (Morio Nitta/Sena Sakaguchi), and finishing 3rd to keep their hold on the top place in the GT300 Driver standings was the winners of the previous round, the No. 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT (Takuto Iguchi/Hideki Yamauchi).

Spectators: 10,300 for the Oct. 24 race; 6,500 for the Oct. 23 qualifying) 

Winner Comments

GT500

No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT
Tomoki Nojiri
“Thanks to what Fukuzumi-san told me about the car’s condition in the first half, I was able to push with confidence from the beginning of my stint. When the car’s condition began to change at one point, I was able to cope with it thanks to Fukuzumi-san’s input. I think this teamwork between the drivers worked perfectly. Now I want to work hard to help us get another win at the next round at Twin Ring Motegi and keep our hopes alive for the season title.”

Nirei Fukuzumi
“As the first stint driver, I was worried about how well the tires would warm up right after the start, but it turned out to be sufficient to allow me to drive with cool and confidence after that. But, the two interventions by the Safety Car forced me to change my strategy, but the team was there to tell me what I needed to do, so fortunately I was able to stay cool after that as well.”

GT300

No. 31 TOYOTA GR SPORT PRIUS PHV apr GT
Koki Saga
“This is my first win in five years …. After taking over the position of Morio Nitta-san, who preceded me as the development driver, I have worked hard with Manager Kaneso to win with the previous Prius SUPER GT machine. But, honestly, I had my doubts about whether we could win with the new Prius PHV, so this win today is really a big relief for me.”

Yuhki Nakayama
“Before I came to this team, the previous team member, Kohei Hirate, told me he hoped I would do my best for the team. But after that we just couldn’t get the results we hoped for. There were many races where things just didn’t go the way we wanted, but we never gave up. So, I am very happy to be able to win with this team. I’m tremendously happy for this!”

Source. Super GT

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