Monday, June 24, 2013

2013 Super GT Round 3 at Sepang International Circuit

Come June every year, it's an exciting time for motorsports fan in Malaysia. That's right, it's the round 3 of the Super GT that is held in Sepang International Circuit. This is the only round of the series out of Japan.

Last weekend was the race day and boy did it deliver with massive off track activities and on track excitement. There were a wide collection of classic/vintage and custom street cars on display at the mall area amongst the display of new cars by local car distributors. 

Before the race, the fans were treated to the sights and noise of 1,300 high-powered motorcycles on the main straight of the Sepang International Circuit. There were also a gathering of hundreds of Honda CR-Z for the fans to admire.

It is estimated that 100,000 spectators were at the circuit over the two days race weekend. That surpasses the previous turnouts by a fair bit. Looks like Super GT is now strongly engraved onto the motorsports calender of more Malaysians.

The GT500 class race was won by the CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R driven by Tsugio Matsuda and Joao Paulo de Oliveira and the GT300 class race by the ARTA CR-Z GT driven by Shinichi Takagi and Takashi Kobayashi.

In the GT500, pole-starting No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R was leading the way admist strong challengers from ZENT CERUMO SC430, and then KeePer TOM'S SC430 followed by Weider Modulo HSV-010. On lap four the ZENT CERUMO SC430 hit the rear of the CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R but no major damages as both vehicles continues the race without stopping at the pits.

In the GT300, the start of the race immediately turned into a fierce battle between the two CR-Z machines starting from the front row. The pole-starting ARTA CR-Z GT and MUGEN CR-Z GT battle it out bumper to bumper for the the 5 laps until the ARTA CR-Z GT was able to pull through and open up a few seconds of gap.

Below are the comments from the race winners:-

GT500 class

Tsugio Matsuda
“Having won pole position in yesterday’s qualifying, I wanted to begin today’s race by making a good start. I thought that would be the first step. I managed to get through that step successfully, but thinking about maintaining the tires’ life prevented me from increasing the pace, and I was also bothered by an over-steering tendency during braking. But the speed of car No. 18 (Weider Modulo HSV-010) was something else, so all I could do was simply try to stay with it as best I could. Thanks to the difference in pit work, we were able to get the lead again and JP (Joao Paulo de Oliveira) managed to keep the lead and give us the win, even though we were not as fast as them. So, now we have to work again to improve our speed.”

Joao Paulo de Oliveira
“In the first stint, Tsugi [Matsuda] kept up a good pace and the team did a great job in the pit work during the routine stop that put me on the track in the lead. So, this victory was really the result of the whole team’s efforts. Also our plan to make an earlier pit stop than our rival put me into the race with a clear track for several laps. This also brought good results. However, the machine is still not in the best condition, so I think we need to work more on the machine’s speed.”

GT300 class

Shinichi Takagi
“We got disappointing results in the last two races, so I have to admit that I felt pressure coming into this race at Sepang. But from the very start of the official qualifying things went well and we were able to win pole position. M-TEC prepared the car very well for us and the team set it up well. Also, Bridgestone prepared some good tires for us. It worried me that our biggest rival (MUGEN CR-Z GT) had the same machine and the same tires as us., but I knew that without the weight handicap they were carrying, I knew we had at least that much of an advantage. I wanted to get a win for the CR-Z as soon as possible CR-Z, so it feels great that we were able to do that.”

Takashi Kobayashi
“We were in 2nd position when I got out on the track for my stint, but I was gradually able to narrow the gap on the leader. I was told that once I caught up with No. 16 (MUGEN CR-Z GT) I should hold back and spare my tires until five laps remained, and then make my move. But, to tell the truth, I didn’t have the reserves or the confidence to do that, so I just charged on, thinking that if I caught it I would try to pass it then and there. My driving is still rough and lacking in that level of polish, so the fact that we were able to win with my level of driving is because of the great car M-TEC and the team prepared and the winning tires that Bridgestone prepared for us, so I am really grateful to all of them.”

Below are some pics of the event. For more pics in higher resolutions, click here: MORE PICS





Related Posts with Thumbnails