Super GT is a series I had almost forgotten about, put on the side if you will, as I got on with my job of featuring and covering the bread & butter of the Japanese car culture. You see way before I became part of the Speedhunters project, before SH actually even exited, I used to cover a few rounds of Super GT every year (this makes me sounds rather old!). Back then foreign magazines couldn’t get enough of the series, readers probably excited at seeing the road cars they owned or lusted over transformed into wild GT racers. It served as inspiration, but then as quickly as foreign interest came, it all but disappeared. So it was on to the next big thing, something called drifting, and a new event that went by the name of D1-GP. The rest, as they say, is history.
But Super GT (known as JGTC up until 2004) was always on my radar, I did keep up with how each championship unfolded and every year at the Nismo Festival I got to see some of Nissan’s GT machines.
But it wasn’t until last Friday that I realized just how much I missed being around these crazy race cars. I was at Fuji Speedway to shoot a rather special all-new GT300 race car for 2012, something you will have to wait until later in the week for, when the feature goes live. So as I found myself in the mist of a buzzing paddock, about an hour early and armed with a pair of DLSRs I decided to make the most of it…
…and take a look around, see teams unload all their equipment for a busy weekend of racing…
…which of course included all the race cars! I stopped by the GSR & Studie with Team Ukyo pit, which runs a pair of BMW Z4 GT3s in the GT300 class.
The orange car is driven by Taku Bamba and Masahiro Sasaki…
…while this number 0 one is steered by none other than Nobuteru Taniguchi along with Tatsuya Kataoka.
N0b and his teammate won the GT300 championship this year and are currently sitting in 7th position after yesterday’s race at Fuji.
There are a total of six Lexus SC cars participating in the GT500 class and this KeePer Kraft number 35 is managed by ex-GT driver Akira Iida who on top of running the team also manages to participate in the Porsche Cup Japan series which follows the Super GT championship around. Talk about multitasking!
While the GT500 cars are the pinnacle of the Super GT championship, it’s the GT300 teams that have the cooler selection of cars…
…like the Zent sponsored Hitotsuyama Racing Audi R8-LMS. The car is piloted by Cyndie Allemann, a female Swiss driver and Akihiro Tsuzuki.
Despite its popularity in other series around the world the R8 has been in the Japanese racing scene for just over a year, the LMS cars in Super GT and the R8 GT3 in Super Taikyu.
This Team Mach 458 Italia GT3 is the only 458 currently entered in Super GT, and it looked fantastic!
It’s hard to pick a favorite car among a selection like this, but the S Road R35 GT-R GT3 is definitely in my top three in this year’s season.
It’s great to see a race R35 that actually resembles the road version of the car…
…the GT500 beasts are amazing, but it’s only the lights and roofline that tells you this is a GT-R.
As GT500 regulations stipulate all cars must not run forced indication, all teams limited to an NA V8 no larger than 3.5L.
It’s quite sad as back in the day I remember staring at the racing RB28s that the Skyline GT-Rs ran, drooling over the exotic materials like the magnesium alloy head covers, the titanium heat shields for the IHI turbos, the dry-sump lubrication which allowed the tall RB to sit extremely low in the engine bay. Now all you are confronted with is a purpose` built and developed race engine. It’s still very cool, but just not as much. Hence why the VR-powered GT3 that races in the GT300 class gets me more excited!
But while there is an element of sadness when thinking back to those golden years of the JGTC, racing is all about continuous evolution, technical breakthrough and the refinement of every aspect of a race car. The all-new hybrid-powered CR-Z is the perfect example…
…it’s a stunning machine to look at and boasts one of the most exciting engine layouts on of the whole SGT series…
…a mid-mounted, longitudinally oriented, twin-turbo 2.8L V6, boosted by an a 50kW motor and a rear-mounted sequential transmission.
It’s said Honda developed the car with the idea of maybe using it in the GT500 class once it has undergone a season’s worth of development and fine-tuning.
Here is the WedsSport Bandoh SC430 which Seiji Ara and Portuguese driver Andre Couto drive.
Right at the top of the pit lane…
…I found another SC, the number 6 car of Daisuke Ito and Kazuya Oshima which is currently sitting in second position.
The mechanics and pit staff were busy setting up throughout the day so there was not even a practice session to be seen on Friday.
While the racing is an incredible thing to witness up close, for me, wondering around the pits in total freedom is what is by far the most fun. There are no schedules to stick to, nobody telling you where you can and cannot stand, it’s all so relaxed and friendly and it allows us to experience a side of the sport…
…that not so many get to see.
Every time I see the HSV-010 GT I can’t help but wonder what a slightly more narrow body, simple, road-going interpretation of this design would look like. Imagine it in white, with carbon detailing and subtle wing…
…finished off with a nice red Honda badge up front. Why Honda? Why did you not make this car? You are still not too late…forget that NSX concept car, you already have the successor to the NSX right here!
After scratching my head at why the HSV-010 GT is even actually a reality and allowed to compete in what is a production-based series, I walked up the pits, passed this lonely JLOC GT300 Gallardo…
…and looked up to this view. I’ve got one last selection of shots to share…
…and maybe also a few desktops. So what do you guys think? Are Super GT cars cool? Would you like to see more of this awesome series on Speedhunters? Would you be content with the usual race review, or would another angle to the coverage be more appealing?
-Dino Dalle Carbonare
Tags: 458 Italia, Audi, BMW, BRZ, Calsonic, CRZ, Eneos, Ferrari, FSW, Fuji Speedway, gallardo, GT-R, GT3, honda, HSV-010 GT, impul, Lamborghini, Lexus, Motul, Nismo, Nissan, r35, R8 GT3, S-Road, SC, Studie, Subaru, super gt, Super GT 2012, Toyota, Weds Sport, Z4, Zent
What is the double hole at the side of the GTR and at the rear of the BRZ? Fuel? Anyway, my favorite is the Autech Nismo and then Calsonic. Favorited since the days of the R34. S Road Mola? Well, they are successfull but not yet legendary. So maybe next time. XD. And yes. Why Honda?
Follow this series more PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Super Street used to, but not anymore. I need my fix of SGT somehow.
"forget that NSX concept car, you already have the successor to the NSX right here!"
wise words my friend.
Dino, Studie GLAD Racing (a BMW tuning shop in Japan) BMW Z4's Itashas very amazing! ....Team Mach Ferrari 458 Italia GT3? (old TV anime "Mach-5 Gogogo" SpeedRacer)
Lucky for me in Malaysia, the folks at Super GT organization decided to hold one round of the series in Malaysia, at Sepang F1 Circuit. And getting the Pit Walkabout Pass for about USD30.00, it's ticket to take a slow walk in motorsport Heaven.
they need more restrictions on body shell shapes. I can see hardly any resemblance to the original stock car with GT500. With GT300 it's closer but not close enough. Thinking back, isn't that what the late 90's cars were more interesting to look at rather than some carbon shell that's more like a formula 1 car.
Thanks, Dino, for getting us all "revved" up for Super GT!! Haha, see that's a little... joke... there... (cough) anyway. Yes more please!
YES!!! Super GT cars are my favorite, but I never see ANY coverage for it. Desktops of that D'Station GT-R PLEASE!!!!
Any idea how wide the rear tires were on the #6 orange Lexus SC are? They look massive in that photo.
YES please more Super GT coverage please, and D1 GP coverage also Dino. I miss that a lot.
AND DESKTOP PLEASE!!!!!!!!
Oh yeah where's the GT300 Prius? Hopefully you'll feature that car...
THE NSX IS HERE! I LIKE THAT THE BEST HONDA EVER MADE I THINK I REALLLLY LIKE THAT CAR. WONDERFULL HONDA RULES! JDM POWER!
Why Honda didn't develop the HSV is beyond me...they need to stop planting green trees and bring back some thoroughbred!! The CR-Z on the other hand is quite impressive. I would still miss the HSV if it gets replaced :(
I'm all for more coverage of Super GT. I've got a hard on for the BRZ GT 300 car... and you're totally right the GT300 cars are way more intersting than the GT 500's.
@ Dino Dalle Carbonare:
"It served as inspiration, but then as quickly as foreign interest came, it all but disappeared. So it was on to the next big thing, something called drifting (...)"
Your statement is not true at all. People like myself have always been interested in JGTC/ GT; whereas the drifters aficionados (let's call them that way) have always been into drifting. Even before D1 started.
The popularity of JGTC/ GT never ceased or diminished in any given foreign countries. SH hardly ever covered GT series (occasionally Len Clarke did some features, but you guys were never interested).
It's sad because GT's offer tech. that is higher than ALMS (if I had to compare); and for those of us that like fast cars (opposed to cool/flashy cars, such as drifters) the GT series has a lot to offer.
You can't argue that the majority of the content that you feature here on SH (coming from Japan) it's not drifting related.
Again, it's sad, because I KNOW that Japan, and Japanese have A LOT more to offer than just Tsukuba's events, Daikoku's meets and Ebisu's drifting.
Two type of motorsports (if you can call drifting a motorsports), and two different school of thought.
With that said, GT's weekly update are VERY appreciated.
More touring car race coverage please. Drifting is great, but GT and touring race cars are really drool worthy ;)
there is an over saturation of drifting coverage. viewers want more formula one, more wrc, more super gt, more historical motorsports coverage etc
Definitely more Super GT. Maybe the way the European crew covers endurance event with the WRT R8 would be good. I for one support more racing series in general.
I think that with the ample coverage of DRIFTING <--(not hating), SH is becoming a little bias towards that type of motor sport, whilst there is good coverage of a lot of other motor sports here there is a huuge lack of coverage for SuperGT or even as someone else posted super taikyu. Again my opinion may be a small window in your world, but 30+ people can't be wrong......
Definitely if you had a mixture of coverage from Super GT and DTM, it would be awesome to see coverage from both series while race season is on. It would be very interesting to see the similarities and differences between both series
One I really love about Super GT and former JGTC are the wheels and wheel arches. The tire sidewall is like a straight wall of rubber, not stretched nor meaty, while retaining a decent height.
And then, the wheel arches, sitting higher that the hood, really give an impression of power, being barely filled with the wheels. Perfect stance.
Combine that with the vertical fenders, and you've got what make Super GT cars so special, in my opinion.
DINO!!!! Thanks so much for coming through with the Super GT coverage! Super GT coverage is pretty much the only thing I want you to cover so to answer your last question. Yes, to everything.
Please post more articles of the Super GT series! I love these races and there isnt any really good coverage of them in the states. So please keep posting them.
More Super GT, please! Can't have enough of those cars :)
Wish I could find more informations on current and older cars..
what i dont understand is, how is nissan not allowed to use a factory forced induction engine in gt500 but honda plans to use a prototype hybrid powertrain in the cr-z...? also why is the hsv-010 allowed to run and not the lf-a? super gt rules are just really confusing to me.
Early '90s and the Gr.A was where it was at for me. But yeah, I'd take the late 90s over what they have come to be these days.
@MattAtDoyle LOL made me laugh!
@Evan Olson Stay tuned for part 2
@ORS OK I think what I have for you this month and next you will like. It's a start at least....
@CrisCiunganu That SC runs 330-710R-17 at the rear, 330-710R-18 at the front. Wheels are 13J wide front and rear and yes it's not a mistake they are 18" front 17" rear.
@TheRickster Desktops coming in the next post :)
@JDMized "and for those of us that like fast cars (opposed to cool/flashy cars, such as drifters) the GT series has a lot to offer."
Yet another ignorant comment from you dude. Go away. in case you missed it, Rhys Millen just set the new recond on Pikes Peak WITH A DRIFT SPEC CAR.
So how many teams have you tech'ed for in SuperGT and ALMS and FIA GT for you to make a dumb blanket statement like "GT has more tech than ALMS" - all 3 are GT cars dude. JUST GO A.W.A.Y.
@JDMized and D1GP weekly update :)
@Chris Besset The tall sidewall is because the tyre in all effects is part of the suspension, it's there to flex and finish up what the dampers have started, much like single seater cars
Also, to better answer those questions. I would love to see the usual race review, and maybe you could look at embedding with different teams at different events and cover it from their perspective? I have a good friend who works at Racing Project Bandoh that deserves some Speedhunters coverage!
It would be great to get to learn about the mechanics and people on the teams, sort of weekend in the life for different teams.
Current regulations in GT500 require a NA V8 engine... This is for GT500 ONLY. (Those rules are changing in a few years.) The reason who the LFA cannot be used is because it uses a V10 and Toyota would ratheer just keep using the SC rather than develop an entirely new car. GT300 Rules are more open so the CRZ can be Hybrid powered. As a matter of fact the GTR's in GT300 are turbocharged V6's just like the production car. As for the HSV? The reason why it can run is because technically it IS based on a production car. Because the HSV almost was released when it was suddenly canceled. The car was already homolgated by then because the car was production ready. So once the season was about to begin Honda was still able to race the car. I for one am hapy to see this. The car is badass and it sounds like an F1 machine. It would be cool to see a GT500 LFA though. Never know. Maybe on the next Supra!
@CharlesNeely You are not the only confused one out there
@speedhunters_dino do you know why it's a larger wheel on the front?
@speedhunters_dino Wow, that's really surprising. Thanks for getting back so quick Dino! :D
@andrewhake Noted. I will do my best but you guys need to understand that there are tons of restrictions.
@tareimgaml It's obviously to do with handling, set-up and aero. Complex things race cars LOL
@CrisCiunganu No problem:)