Subaru-BRZ-GT300The final 2 races of the SUPER GT special event – the JAF Grand Prix FUJI SPRINT CUP took place on Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th November. Kota Sasaki drove the SUBARU BRZ GT300 in a rather wet Race 1 to manage 19th place. Tetsuya Yamano started Race 2 from 13th spot in dry conditions to climb as high as 4th at one point.
Race 1 on the Saturday was held in heavy rain, putting the BRZ at a disadvantage compared to GT3 cars, equipped with an ABS and traction control, and Kota Sasaki suffered from lack of grip in the wet. Disappointedly, he only managed 19th and recorded 2 laps fewer than the winner. In contrast, Sunday the 18th was a fine day from the morning and both atmospheric and road-surface temperatures were slightly higher than the day before due to some sunshine. Race 2 of GT300 got underway in front of a large crowd of 41,300 spectators who got in on the action at Fuji Speedway to watch the last major race of the year.
Yamano climbed up from his starting place of 13th to reach 9th on the opening lap and then continued to pass front runners to improve his position. However, GT3 cars are fast on straights and stood in his way – so while Yamano was able to catch up with them in twisty sections and pass them at the last corner, this was short-lived and they would reclaim their spot on the next straight. Despite this, Yamano took 5th position on Lap 18 and chased a Mercedes SLS in 4th before the two collided at the first corner of Lap 19 with the BRZ sustaining damage to a wheel. This forced Yamano to come back to the pit to have his tyre replaced, which stripped him of the chance to get a good position, and he had to finish the race in 16th.
STI General Team Manager Hideharu Tatsumi said, “The last run by Yamano was very exciting. The car looked completely different from yesterday. This means that these last races of the season clarified both the progress that the BRZ has made and its remaining weaknesses, and so now we clearly understand what we should do for next year. We’ll work hard in development during the close season with hope for next year”. Yamano concluded by saying, “With nothing to lose this time, we’d decided to try out a risky setting in a team meeting before today’s final race. As a result, I was able to enjoy this race the most this season. I recorded the season’s best time in Sector 2, which includes 100R. Most importantly, it felt good to overtake some rivals today. We will try hard again next year for SUBARU fans around the world. I would like to thank everybody for their support this year.”