In Sunday’s season finale at Motegi, Motojima and Takashi Kogure delivered JLOC’s first victory since 2019 and a first since it introduced the Evo2 version of the Huracan for Round 4 at Fuji in August.
Prior to Motegi, the best result achieved by the #88 crew was fourth place at Suzuka, but on that occasion it was outshone by the sister #87 car, still in the previous Evo spec, that finished second.
However, Motojima says support from Lamborghini engineers since the penultimate round at Autopolis has allowed the team to make a big step forward in unlocking the Evo2’s potential.
“At Fuji, we were using the car fresh out of the box,” reflected Motojima. “We had never put SUPER GT tyres on the car and we had zero data, and yet we were still able to fight at the top.
“I thought, ‘this car’s potential is amazing’. But compared to the previous model, the straight line speed was not as good, and working out the aero, so we weren’t able to make of use it initially.
“In the second half of the season, we have matured and especially having the engineers coming from Italy to support us from the previous race [at Autopolis] has really helped us.
“The engineers said, ‘There’s still a lot more to come. This is just the first step’, so personally I am expecting a lot from the Evo2 in the future.”
As well as ending a long losing streak for JLOC, ex-Honda GT500 driver Kogure earned his first victory in GT300 and his first in either category since the 2018 season opener at Okayama.
The 2010 GT500 champion described the season as his best in all the years he has been competing in the series.
“The atmosphere in the team wasn’t so good as we were struggling so much, so to end the season with a win, it’s a huge relief for everyone in the team, including me,” said Kogure.
“I wouldn’t say it makes up for all the struggles, but because we were able to finish in a way that gives us big expectations for next year, I’d call this season my best in SUPER GT.”
JLOC is set to upgrade its #87 car, driven this year by Natsu Sakaguchi and Kosuke Matsuura, to Evo2 spec for 2024.