Round 2 of the 2022 SUPER GT Series was held at Fuji Speedway on May 3rd and 4th. This race, which will be held during the annual Golden Week, will be a race for the Nissan / NISMO camp to test the performance of the Nissan Z GT500 that will be competing from this season. Depending on the result of the opening round, # 23 MOTUL AUTECH Z (Tsugio Matsuda / Ronnie Quintarelli) weighs 22 kg, # 3 CRAFTSPORTS MOTUL Z (Katsumasa Chiyo / Mitsunori Takaboshi) weighs 12 kg, and # 12 Calsonic IMPUL Z (Kazuki Hiramine / Bertrand). The baguette) was equipped with an 8kg success weight, and # 24 Realize Corporation ADVAN Z (Taiki Sasaki / Kohei Hirate) challenged a 450km long race without a success weight.
# 24 Z is 2nd in qualifying and # 3 Z is 3rd in qualifying.
On May 3rd, the qualifying day, the weather was sunny and chilly, and the GT500 class qualifying Q1 for 10 minutes started from 3:33 pm under the conditions of 14 degrees Celsius and 21 degrees Celsius. Matsuda is in charge of the attack on # 23 Z, and Chiyo is in charge of the attack on # 3 Z. I warmed the tires slowly and attacked on the 5th lap. # 23 Z marked 1’27.090, # 3 Z marked 1’26.832, and # 23 Z finished the attack. # 3 Z continued to attack on the 6th lap and achieved a time-up of 1’26.701. In # 24 Z, Sasaki set the best time on the 6th lap at 1’26.578, and in # 12 Z, Hiramine set the best time on the 5th lap at 1’26.989 and finished Q1. In the end, # 24 Z was in 4th place, # 3 Z was in 5th place and advanced to Q2, # 12 Z was in 10th place and # 23 Z was in 11th place for the next day’s race.
Qualifying Q2 with the top 8 cars started at 4:11 pm, with # 24 Z’s flat hand in 2nd place at 1: 26.449 and # 3 Z’s Takaboshi in 3rd place at 1: 26.452. However, the result was that the performance improvement of the new Z was confirmed.
# 12 Z comes in 3rd place and Nissan Z takes the podium in a row
It was sunny on May 4th, the final day, and the temperature rose to 20 degrees Celsius. The road surface temperature was 33 degrees Celsius, and the formation lap started at 2:30 pm, and the 100-lap race started. Immediately after the start, a fierce battle for the top was held, and the # 3 Z driven by Chiyo went up to 2nd place, and the # 24 Z went down in position. After the first lap, # 3 Z was 2nd, # 24 Z was 5th, # 12 Z was 8th, and # 23 Z was 10th. On the second lap, # 3 Z allowed the lead to follow and was in 3rd place. On the 5th lap, # 24 Z will drop to 7th and # 12 Z will drop to 9th. On lap 13, Matsuda of # 23 Z passed # 12 Z and moved up to 9th place.
On the 27th lap, # 12 Z was the first to make the first pit stop in the GT500 class, refueling, changing tires and changing the driver from baguette to Hiramine. The Nissan Z team made the first pit stop on lap 35 with # 3 Z and # 24 Z, and on lap 36 with # 23 Z, refueling, changing tires and changing drivers, respectively. # 3 Z changed from Chiyo to Takaboshi, # 24 Z changed from Sasaki to Hirate, # 23 Z changed from Quintarelli to Matsuda, and the race went to the middle stage. On lap 43, when all GT500 class cars finished their first pit stop, the GT300 class car crashed, a full course yellow (FCY) was presented, and then a safety car (SC) was introduced. After six laps of lead, the race was suspended with a red flag to repair the damaged barrier. At the end of the 49th lap when the red flag was interrupted, # 3 Z was 4th, # 23 Z was 8th, # 12 Z was 9th, and # 24 Z was 12th.
After repairing the tire barrier, the race resumed at 4:25 pm, led by SC. After three laps of lead driving, it restarted and a fierce battle for the top was developed. On lap 53, # 3 Z emerged in 2nd place, showing momentum approaching the top. # 12 Z also moved up to 7th position on lap 53 and increased his pace to join the competition. On lap 55, the top car was penalized and # 12 Z was 6th and # 23 Z was 7th. On lap 59, # 3 Z, who caught the top in range, approached behind the top on the main straight and aimed for overtaking. However, a slow-running GT300 class machine suddenly appeared in front of me due to a change in the top track, and Takaboshi of # 3 Z spun and crashed to avoid it. Due to this accident, the race was interrupted by the red flag again, and it took time to repair the guardrail. At the end of lap 59, when the red flag was interrupted, # 12 Z was 5th, # 23 Z was 6th, and # 24 Z was 10th. At 6:10 pm, the race was resumed under the SC lead, but the race ended at 62 laps at 6:20 pm at the specified time with the SC lead. Immediately before the end of the race, a penalty was decided on the top and 2nd place, and # 12 Z moved up to 3rd place, # 23 Z moved up to 4th place, and # 24 Z moved up to 8th place, which was the official result.
“First of all, I’m really glad that Takaboshi was safe. This time, we couldn’t say that our car was very well-balanced, but as a result, we were able to get points in 3rd place. I think it was good. It’s a difficult race, and I don’t have much time until the next race, Suzuka, but I’d like to take a good rest and start preparing immediately. I want to work on it. “
“Needless to say, it was a really tough day. I’m really glad that Takaboshi wasn’t injured. I struggled a little in terms of racing, but the tires warmed up very well and very well. I think I was able to run powerfully. At the restart, Hiramine showed a good run, and in the end I was able to move up the ranking and finish in 3rd place, but I am satisfied with this result. “