The 47th Summer Endurance “SUZUKA 10 Hours Endurance Race” that will be held at Suzuka Circuit in August 2018 is mainly open to the GT3 cars competing around the world, Japanese GT3 cars and JAF-GT cars. One of the appeals of GT3 car racing is the variety of the cars participating. Here are introductions to the Japanese GT3 cars that may perhaps appear at the Suzuka 10 Hours and the JAF-GT300 cars that are competing in SUPER GT.
The growing variety of domestic GT3 cars
Will the expected models appear at the Suzuka 10 Hours?
Compared to European GT3 cars, GT3 cars from Japanese manufacturers were released a little later. But their speed is already at the top level, as seen by their great racing success in Europe and North America.
Many models are likely to appear in the Suzuka 10 Hours, and the GT3 version Honda NSX that will debut in 2018 is also expected to participate.
The Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 was released in 2012 based on the Nissan GT-R (Type R35) as the first FIA GT3-spec Japanese car. Although it preserves the appearance of the road-going model clearly, its competitiveness is top-level. The Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 has been upgraded once in 2015 and it is now rumored that its next “evolution model" should be released in 2018.
Although some problems were noticed at the beginning of its career, its customers have increased little by little, not only in Japan but also in Europe and North America. It is nicknamed "GODZILLA" in Europe.
The 2015 season was particularly successful for the GT-R NISMO GT3, with victories in the Blancpain GT Series and in the Bathurst 12 Hour in Australia.
This is a GT3 car developed on the base of the Lexus RC F, a sports coupe of the luxury vehicle brand of Toyota. Although it began entering races from 2015, initially the car was not homologated as an FIA GT3 car and raced as a car specially approved by the organizer. However, the Lexus RC F GT3 has been officially homologated as a FIA GT3 car from the 2017 season and has raced in Japan, Europe and North America.
Especially in the GT300 class of the SUPER GT series, the Lexus RC F GT3 displayed top-class competitiveness with two victories in the 2017 season, including a first victory in the race at Fuji Speedway, which is the source of the "F" in its name RC F.
Some of the parts are similar to those used in the SUPER GT’s GT500 class cars.
This is a GT3 racing version of the Honda NSX, a super sports car introduced on the market in 2016. Having started participation in races in the US under the name of “Acura NSX GT3”, it has already shown success with victories that proves the high performance of its road-going version.
At the occasion of the Suzuka 1000km in 2017, demonstration runs were made with Jenson Button as driver, and the car will be delivered to customer teams as the Honda NSX GT3 in Europe and in Japan. It is likely that the NSX GT3 will participate in the Suzuka 10 Hours.
Originality and technological capability!
Mother Chassis-based cars are also growing in variety
In order to make use of Japan's technological capabilities, GT300 cars produced according to the JAF-GT regulation are competing in the SUPER GT. The JAF-GT300 regulation are designed to promote and make good use of Japan's technological prowess.
The JAF-GT300 cars are treated as equivalents to the FIA GT3-spec cars in the Sepang 12 Hours held in Malaysia and they will be allowed to participate in the Suzuka 10 Hours in 2018. With the “Mother Chassis” introduced by GTA Co., Ltd, promotor of the SUPER GT series, the variety of cars adopting this spec is growing even more.
The Toyota Prius GT is a racing car that has the silhouette of the hybrid cars often seen on the streets. Unlike the production model, this Prius GT has midship-mounted 3.4-liter V8 racing engine behind the driver’s seat. However, this car has the role of a “rolling laboratory” because its hybrid system is developed based on the system used on the production Prius. This is the reason why the electric power storage devices of the two Prius GT cars participating in the SUPER GT series are different.
The Prius GT is tremendously powerful on the racetrack, to an extent that is unimaginable from the road-going production Prius car. That is why some European fans who saw the car competing in SUPER GT races called it the "Mega Prius". In 2016, the Prius GT competed in the Sepang 12 Hours on even footing with European GT3 cars.
This is a JAF GT300-spec car from Subaru, which has been participating in the SUPER GT series with several models for many years. Contrary to the impression of the commercially available BRZ, the BRZ GT300 is completely modified by R&D SPORT and STI for SUPER GT races.
Having improved steadily year by year, the BRZ GT300 can be said to be one of the top contenders in the GT300 class.
Subaru's specialty, the 2-liter boxer turbo engine, is mounted at a lower position in the front, which allows the car achieve great cornering performance. Suzuka Circuit is one of the tracks which the Subaru does very well at, and the car has won two victories in the Suzuka 1000 km.
This is the first model of the GT300 Mother Chassis concept that was born with the idea of nurturing technical capabilities of Japanese racing garages and making it possible for privateer teams to participate in the race with a car built by themselves. The 86 MC has bodywork with the silhouette of the popular Toyota 86.
Four 86 MCs are participating in the GT300 class of the 2017 SUPER GT series, this is the largest number among the Mother Chassis-based cars.
This is a Mother Chassis-based car with bodywork that has the silhouette of the Lotus Evora. Cars Tokai Dream 28, one of the top contenders in the GT300 class of the SUPER GT series, is a company that runs Lotus dealerships in Japan. This is the only Lotus Evora MC in the world. The Evora MC uses the same monocoque as with other Mother Chassis-based cars, but differs from them in that the road-going Evora is a midship engine car. Mooncraft struggled in designing this GT300 car in order to mount the engine in the same position as the commercially available Evora,.
In addition to its beautiful form, the competitive potential of the Lotus Evora MC is also very high. As Mooncraft is led by Takuya Yura, a famous racing car designer in Japan, the car features superb aerodynamic performance. In addition, the team has introduced parts with ambitious designs at almost every round of the series.
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