The FUJIMAKI GROUP FUJI GT 100 Lap RACE, Round 4 of the 2022 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series, took place on August 7th at Fuji Speedway (one lap 4,563 m x 99 laps) in Shizuoka Prefecture. In the GT500 class, the two young drivers of the No. 37 KeePer TOM’S GR Supra (Sacha Fenestraz/Ritomo Miyata) got a felicitous first win, while the GT300 class the No. 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT (Takuto Iguchi/Hideki Yamauchi) got their first win of the season.
On this race day the air temperature stood at just 26 degrees C., which although not as cool as the previous day’s temperature was still moderate for this time in mid-summer at Fuji Speedway. Despite a passing shower before the start, the track soon dried, but as a precaution an extra lap was added to the formation run that reduced the race distance to 99 laps. In the third lap of the race, the No. 24 Realize corporation ADVAN Z (Kohei Hirate) starting from 2nd position on the grid was able to take the lead, while the No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN GR Supra (Yuji Kunimoto) that had won pole position the day before was unable to maintain a strong pace and soon fell back in the pack.
Chasing the leading car No. 24 were the No. 37 KeePer TOM’S GR Supra (Sacha Fenestraz) and the No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL Z (Bertrand Baguette) as the top three. In this race, all cars were required to make at least two pit stops for refueling, but most of the teams opted to wait until after the 33rd lap that marked 1/3rd of the race distance to make their first pit stop. After completing the first refueling, cars No. 24, No. 37 and No. 12 maintained their positions in the top three. Entering the second half of the race, the distance between the top three cars began to narrow. They were within a space of one sec. from each other when the time came for them to make their second pit stop. It was here that car No. 37 (Ritomo Miyata) was able to take the lead thanks to some fast pit work. And it was car No. 12 that emerged in 2nd place, leaving Car No. 24 (Kohei Hirate) now in 3rd place. In the final stages of the race, Miyata in car No. 37 KeePer TOM’S GR Supra (Sacha Fenestraz/Ritomo Miyata) maintained a fast pace to pull away from its two competitors and run on to the finish alone for the win. For this youngest driver pair in the GT500 class, both at the age of 23, it was a joyous first victory. Finishing in 2nd place came the No.12 CALSONIC IMPUL Z (Kazuki Hiramine/Bertrand Baguette). Third place went to the No. 24 Realize corporation ADVAN Z (Daiki Sasaki/Kohei Hirate). The top finisher among the Honda NSX-GT teams was the No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT (Tomoki Nojiri/Nirei Fukuzumi) in 5th place.
In the early stages of the GT300 class race, the pole-starting No. 65 LEON PYRAMID AMG (Naoya Gamou) ran away in the lead, but then suffered machine trouble that forced the team out of the race. Taking over the lead in the closing stages of the race was the No. 4 GOODSMILE HATSUNE MIKU AMG (Nobuteru Taniguchi/Tatsuya Kataoka). However, car No. 4 also met trouble with its tires that dropped it out of competition for the lead. With this, the No. 11 GAINER TANAX GT-R (Hironobu Yasuda) and last season’s GT300 class champions, the No. 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT (Takuto Iguchi/Nobuteru Taniguchi) staged a close-fought battle that had them running side-by-side at many points on the track. It was car No. 61 that emerged as the winner from this battle to take its first victory of the season in its fourth race.
（Spectators on Race day (Aug. 7th): 29,300 / on Qualifying day (Aug.6th): 18,600）
No. 37 KeePer TOM’S GR Supra [GT500]
Sacha Fenestraz: “I’m very happy! But this was not just my win but a win that was achieved by everyone (on the team). The team really supported me all the way today, especially with their perfect performance on the second pit stop. That made it a great win both for me and the team. And I also want to thank all of the fans that supported us today.”
Ritomo Miyata: “Thanks to everyone. We did it! The second stint that I drove was quite tough, and though things were going well at first, but after that the No. 24 Z had a stronger pace. So I switched to a strategy of maintaining my pace so that we could take the lead in the next stint, and that worked very well. After taking the lead our pace was good and I was just hoping that the race would finish soon. Sacha [Fenestraz] and I and the team had thought hard about how to get a good set-up for the car, and I was so glad to see how those efforts paid off.”
No. 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT [GT300]
Takuto Iguchi: “I thought it was so cool that Yamauchi-san was able to finish his 100th SUPER GT race with a win(laughs). I was with him on his first race. And Dunlop worked with us from the testing stage to develop tires that would be good for both of us, and the tires performed so well. So, this first win of the season wasn’t just a win by us but by everyone.”
Nobuteru Taniguchi: “This was my 100th SUPER GT race, so I think it was a great race that We could enjoy with all of the fans that have cheered us on. In the final battle I was desperately thinking that I would do anything just to win.”