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Super GT 2008: Nissan GT-R Takes Maximum-points Win and Leads Championship

– SUPER GT 2008 Round 8 Race Report –

On October 19th at Autopolis (1 lap: 4.674kms), located in Oita prefecture, Round 8 of this year’s SUPER GT took place. Starting from pole position, the #23 XANAVI NISMO GT-R (#23 Satoshi Motoyama/Benoit Treluyer) once more took overall victory. Recording the fastest lap of the race meant they earned the maximum points possible, and was an important step toward clinching the championship title. This car won on the opening two rounds this season, making this the third victory of the year for the car. Up to this point, NISSAN GT-R entries have taken six wins from eight starts.

On the day, a huge number of spectators gathered at Autopolis in beautiful weather, the race getting underway at 2:00pm in front of some 28,800 fans. Under the watchful eye of this large group of people, Treluyer made a good start in the #23 GT-R, the 2nd-place car and those behind quickly dropping away. With his dash of a start, Treluyer built up a gap of around 4 seconds in only a few laps, his impressive pace not allowing anyone to come near. Later on, no cars threatened the #23 GT-R. In addition, the quick work of the NISMO pit crew during the driver switch ensured the machine got back out on track rapidly, confirming the extent of the gap to the #1 NSX which had been running 2nd up to that point. Motoyama returned the car to a race without danger. Approaching the later stages, there were on-track accidents and spins after contact, but none of these had any affect as Motoyama carried the GT-R to the finish line unhindered. With this, twenty points were accrued for victory, three for pole position, and one for setting the fastest lap of the race – the greatest possible points-haul from an event. As we head to the final round at Fuji Speed Way, the team goes into the event in the premier points position.
After setting the top time in the first of the official qualifying sessions, scrutineering later revealed the car’s rear wing was higher than the regulations allowed, resulting in the car’s time being thrown out. The “MOTUL AUTECH GT-R” (#22 Michael Krumm/Masataka Yanagida) would start the race from 16th on the grid. Taking charge in the opening stages, Krumm had the car up to 14th on the opening lap. Rival teams’ tyre wear allowed him to pit on lap 18 for new rubber. Krumm maintained a quick pace as he counted down the laps, at one point getting as high as 2nd. On lap 43 he made his pit stop, handing the car over to Yanagida. The 2-pit strategy briefly dropped the car to 10th, but with Yanagida also maintaining a high pace, recovered to sixth at the flag. Later on, the car ahead was given a penalty in the form of time added, thus raising the #22 machine to 5th.

Winners in Round 7, the “YellowHat YMS TOMICA GT-R” (#3 Ronnie Quintarelli/Naoki Yokomizo) ran with a handicap weight of 60kgs (including 20kgs adjusted through the air restrictor) making it a hard run for the car. After starting 5th, they finished the race in sixth place. The CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (#12 Tsugio Matsuda/Sebastien Philippe) ran the event in 10th. During the event, power steering problems surfaced for the “WOODONE ADVAN Clarion GT-R” (#24 Joao Paolo de Oliveira/Seiji Ara), necessitating a return to the pit garage for repairs, before once more going back out on track. They finished eight laps down on the leaders.

#23 GT-R driver Satoshi Motoyama’s comment:

“Because this was a very important race in terms of the championship, and one we wanted to take victory on by any means possible, this is a big relief. The air temperature was higher than expected and so we had to be very careful in terms of managing the tyres, which for a while was a bit of a worry. Our pole position start was the reason for our victory I believe. I want to thank Benoit for his amazing super lap performance. In the race, the team’s pit work played a big part in the win. It truly was a victory gained through everyone’s efforts.”

#23 GT-R driver Benoit Treluyer’s comment:

“Prior to the start, I felt enormous pressure. I was particularly concerned about if I could concentrate properly at the start. My objective was to open up as big a gap as possible before handing the car over to Satoshi (Motoyama). I made up a lead on the opening lap, and for the remainder of my stint just focussed on keeping my tyres – something I believe I did rather well. I’m extremely happy with today’s victory.”

NISMO Team Director Yoshitaka Iijima’s comment:

“This time was really stressful. It wasn’t a simple race, and both drivers put in a superb run in what were very difficult conditions. Looking toward the championship, I believe this is a huge step forward. In the next and final event of the season, we’ll once again be saddled with heavy handicap weight so what the outcome will be I simply cannot say. We will, all of us, persist with all our might – and to that end are immensely appreciative of your unwavering support.”

Nissan GT-R at Super GT 2008

Super GT 2008: Nissan GT-R Takes Maximum-points Win and Leads Championship
Super GT 2008: Nissan GT-R Takes Maximum-points Win and Leads Championship
Super GT 2008: Nissan GT-R Takes Maximum-points Win and Leads Championship
Super GT 2008: Nissan GT-R Takes Maximum-points Win and Leads Championship

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