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SUPER GT Honda’s Fuji title deciding person is on the verge of danger

At Fuji this weekend, there are six crew members in a mathematical battle for the GT500 title, but Honda is overwhelmingly likely to succeed in the first-ever title defense in the SUPER GT top class.

The NSX-GT crew occupies the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the ranking. Naoki Yamamoto is leading with 60 points, although he failed to score the previous goal at Mogi in the # 1 Team Kunimitsu car shared with Tadasuke Makino. He missed the opening round of the Okayama season and won the title. ARTA duo Tomoki Nojiri and Nirei Fukuzumi have scored 55 points after Motegi’s victory. Real Racing Bertrand Baguette and Koudai Tsukakoshi are 52 years old.

Saturday’s qualifying session is very important as it splits the top two crews by just 5 points. If Yamamoto and Makino get the most important bonus points for Paul, they can enjoy the luxury of finishing second only to Nojiri and Fukuzumi. If that isn’t possible, ARTA drivers will win enough no matter what else happens (if Nojiri and Fukuzumi win, they will win the title in the countback and Yamamoto will be in second place).

Qualifying is not an important difference between Baguette and Tsukakoshi. In reality, they have to win and want Yamamoto not to finish in second place, with or without Paul’s bonus points.


Motorsport.tv We are showing the finale of this weekend’s SUPER GT season live. The race will start on Sunday, November 28th at 1:00 pm JST (GMT +9). Click here for more information..


regardless of Careful words of Honda SUPER GT project leader Masahiro Saeki after the Motegi race, Yamamoto and Makino pointed out that they couldn’t score for the first time this season as evidence that consecutive titles aren’t taken for granted, but even Toyota and Nissan have virtually no chance of achieving a miracle turnaround. .. Exists.

The fact that Tom’s Toyota pair Yuhi Sekiguchi and Sho Tsuboi are the closest crew members other than Honda facing a 16-point deficit means that even with the # 36 car bag pole, Yamamoto and Makino hope for Toyota. It means you need to finish in 5th place to finish. If that isn’t possible, Nojiri and Fukuzumi will be in third place, and Baguette and Tsukakoshi will be in second place, which should be enough to give Honda a title.

Impul Nissan pair Nobuharu Matsushita and Kazuki Hiramine (17 points down in Yamamoto) or Kenta Yamashita and Kazuya Oshima (20 points) in the rookie racing Toyota duo are even less likely to win the Champions Trophy.

Indeed, given the recent shape of all three Bridgestone NSX-GTs at Fuji (Baguette and Tsukakoshi won the Fuji 500km in May, Nojiri and Fukuzumi probably won without penalty, Yamamoto was in 4th place despite passing the qualifying at the bottom). You have to be really brave to bet on a brand other than Honda that unplugs champagne on Sunday night.

So if we accept that premise NS The Honda crew will almost certainly be at the top. There are many plots as to which of the three teams will win the big prize.

For Team Kunimitsu, a consistent benchmark since the introduction of the front engine NSX-GT last year, the third GT500 title in just four years was a precedent, especially since it was only split from the infinity of service providers. There will be no results. After the 2016 season. He has already won the title twice in four seasons as an “independent” team.

It also stabilizes the most illustrious team by far in Honda and clears two titles, ARTA, Dome and Mugen. All of these have one win each.

ARTA’s first and so far only GT500 Crown returned in 2007 with Ralph Firman and Daisuke Ito. The second crown pegs a team owned by former F1 racer Aguri Suzuki with Kunimitsu. It will also be the first maintenance garage Servus Japan that has been outsourced to drive car 8 since the 2014 season.

Real Racing, the only team that has never won a title at the Bridgestone Honda Trio, is what team boss Katsutomo Kaneishi really wants and eradicates the painful memories of missing last year’s chances in the process. .. Considering that the title was decided dramatically last year, it is easy to forget that TOM’s Ryo Hirakawa reached the finale because Baguette and Tsukakoshi were actually jointly raising the ranking.

Of the five drivers in competition, only Yamamoto, who is bidding to become the first solo GT500 champion since Ryo Michigami in 2000, has previously won the title, so the ARTA or Real Racing victory will be on the GT500 roll. Honor that offers two new names. But that’s not all. For Yamamoto and Nojiri, that’s who really is Honda’s top dog.

Nojiri (left) became the first Honda driver to win a Super Formula title other than Yamamoto since 2009 this season.

Nojiri (left) became the first Honda driver to win a Super Formula title other than Yamamoto since 2009 this season.

In Super Formula, Yamamoto endured a disastrous title defense this year and, for the first time since the start of his term in the 2010 series, couldn’t stop the title from slipping out of Honda’s stables to rivals. Successful reaction to Yamamoto’s Nojiri, You can see it here, Talk volume about how competitive he is.

On the other hand, Nojiri has a chance to do what Yamamoto did in both 2018 and 2020. It’s about winning the SUPER GT and Super Formula titles in the same year-a very rare achievement so far, essentially the Holy Grail of Japan’s domestic motorsports.

In 2018, Yamamoto became the fourth driver after Pedro de la Rosa (1997), Satoshi Motoyama (2003) and Richard Lyons (2004), and was the first to achieve this with only Honda-powered machines. Became a driver of. .. After the humiliation of Super Formula, Nojiri is determined to have no access to this very upscale club.

Nojiri will know what is at stake as well. There aren’t many chances to “double” and there is no guarantee that his current excellence in Super Formula will continue. After all, no one has succeeded in defending the title of the series since Tsugio Matsuda in 2008.

Similarly, SUPER GT will offer some sort of reset to all three GT500 manufacturers next season. When Nissan is preparing to retire the venerable GT-R in favor of the new Z Honda is also preparing to fight the “Type S” version of the NSX. Toyota does not have a whole new model to introduce, but takes advantage of the opportunity to update the bodywork of the GR Supra.

It is impossible to predict which of the three manufacturers will dominate in 2022, but whatever happens at Fuji on Sunday, Honda will be the “winner” of the first segment of this current GT500 rule cycle. It is safe to declare. The NSX-GT has won eight of the 15 races held in the ruleset so far, so even if Nissan (currently four wins) or Toyota (three wins) win another this weekend, Honda Has won half of the race. The beginning of last year.

In that sense, the battle for the honor of the 2021 season is essentially summarized in a shootout between the three NSX-GTs. May the best team win!

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