Honda smashes lap record on first day of Suzuka SUPER GT test

A total of 13 cars, representing the entire GT500 field except the two NISMO-run Nissan Zs, were in action for the opening day of what marks the final group running before next week’s official Okayama test.

Continuing the pattern seen in previous tests, it was the Honda NSX-GT contingent that dominated the timesheets, with all four of the marque’s Bridgestone runners sitting at the top of the charts.

ARTA continued to demonstrate the apparent strength of its new partnership with Mugen as the #8 car of Toshiki Oyu set a blistering best time of 1m42.630s in an extended three-hour afternoon session.

That was almost 1.5 seconds up on the pole time set last May by the Racing Project Bandoh Toyota.

All four Bridgestone Hondas easily beat that record, with the #17 Real Racing car of Koudai Tsukakoshi going second-fastest on a 1m43.099s, followed by the #100 Team Kunimitsu NSX-GT of Naoki Yamamoto on a 1m43.164s.

ARTA’s #16 car was fourth-fastest in the hands of newcomer Hiroki Otsu ahead of the Bandoh Toyota of Sena Sakaguchi, which was best of the non-Hondas.

Nissan’s top representative was the Kondo Racing car in ninth place, while Toyota squad Rookie Racing was 10th-fastest with Kazuya Oshima piloting the car solo in the absence of Kenta Yamashita.

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It remains unclear whether any GT500 runners were using the new carbon-neutral fuel that SUPER GT has adopted for 2023, but it’s understood that at least the Honda contingent were using regular gasoline. The new fuel is estimated to be slower by approximately one second a lap.

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Poor track conditions at the start of the morning session meant only eight of the 13 runners elected to go out. Fastest of those the #36 TOM’S Toyota, which ended up sixth-fastest in the afternoon with Ritomo Miyata driving.

The Bandoh and Rookie Toyotas both gained some additional mileage on Wednesday alongside the Honda development car, but both squads went considerable quicker on Thursday.

Nissan’s pair of NISMO-run cars meanwhile undertook their own private session at Okayama on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Suzuka SUPER GT testing times:

Pos. No. Team/Car Drivers Morning Afternoon
1 8 ARTA/Honda

Japan Tomoki Nojiri

Japan Toshiki Oyu

no time 1’42.630
2 17 Real Racing/Honda

Japan Koudai Tsukakoshi

Japan Nobuharu Matsushita

1’44.625 1’43.099
3 100 Kunimitsu/Honda

Japan Naoki Yamamoto

Japan Tadasuke Makino

no time 1’43.164
4 16 ARTA/Honda

Japan Nirei Fukuzumi

Japan Hiroki Otsu

no time 1’43.341
5 19 Racing Project Bandoh/Toyota

Japan Yuji Kunimoto

Japan Sena Sakaguchi

1’44.592 1’43.481
6 36 TOM’S/Toyota

Japan Sho Tsuboi

Japan Ritomo Miyata

1’44.042 1’43.518
7 39 SARD/Toyota

Japan Yuhi Sekiguchi

Japan Yuichi Nakayama

1’44.650 1’43.674
8 64 Nakajima Racing/Honda

Japan Takuya Izawa

Japan Kakunoshin Ota

no time 1’43.923
9 24 Kondo Racing/Nissan

Japan Daiki Sasaki

Japan Kohei Hirate

1’44.688 1’44.080
10 14 Rookie Racing/Toyota

Japan Kazuya Oshima

1’44.480 1’44.353
11 38 Cerumo/Toyota

Japan Yuji Tachikawa

Japan Hiroaki Ishiura

1’45.371 1’44.734
12 1 Impul/Nissan

Belgium Bertrand Baguette

Japan Kazuki Hiramine

no time 1’45.007
13 37 TOM’S/Toyota

France Giuliano Alesi

Japan Ukyo Sasahara

1’46.146 1’45.279

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