What we learned about SUPER GT’s 2024 cars in Motegi test

After two days of running at Okayama in late July, the 2024 GT500 machines of Nissan, Honda and Toyota again shared the track last week at Motegi, as the final 2023 tyre test involving all four manufacturers also took place.

Seven current GT500 cars shared the track with the new cars for a total of 10 cars across two days of running, with the regulation eight hours of track time split into three sessions this time to accommodate a GTA-organised GT300 test.

Before we go any further, here’s a reminder of how the laptimes stacked up across both days.

Pos. No. Car/Team Drivers Tyre Day 1 am Day 1 pm Day 2
1 64 Honda/Nakajima

Japan T. Izawa

Japan K. Ota


1’38.766 1’40.370 1’37.774
2 3 Nissan/NDDP

Japan K. Chiyo

Japan M. Takaboshi


1’38.261 1’38.040 1’38.065
3 100 Honda/Kunimitsu

Japan N. Yamamoto

Japan T. Makino


1’38.419 1’38.831 1’38.372
4 36 Toyota/TOM’S

Japan S. Tsuboi

Japan R. Miyata


1’38.562 1’39.654 1’38.460
5 230 Nissan 2024 test car

Italy R. Quintarelli

Japan T. Matsuda


1’39.289 1’38.709 1’39.450 
6 19 Toyota/Bandoh

Japan Y. Kunimoto

Japan S. Sakaguchi


1’39.010 1’39.206 1’38.929
7 24 Nissan/Kondo

Japan K. Hirate

Japan D. Sasaki


1’39.334 1’39.602 1’39.079
8 1 Nissan/Impul

Belgium B. Baguette

Japan K. Hiramine


1’39.300 1’39.628 1’39.827
9 99 Honda 2024 test car

Japan N. Yamamoto

Japan T. Makino

Japan T. Nojiri


1’39.593 1’40.150 1’39.688
10 90 Toyota 2024 test car

Japan Y. Tachikawa

Japan H. Ishiura

Japan K. Yamashita


1’40.089 1’39.916 1’40.523

One notable thing about the Motegi test was how slow the lap times were on the whole, slower even than last year’s post-season carbon neutral test (already considerably slower than the previous weekend’s season finale).

Despite massive rain on the Monday that even led to the garages being flooded, the track was dry for all three sessions across Tuesday and Wednesday.

However, hot and humid conditions were not exactly conducive to fast times, while Monday’s deluge will have made the track very green for the first two-hour session on Tuesday morning. Indeed, the majority of serious running was done that afternoon or the next day.

But, looking at just the 2024 cars for the moment, Nissan looks to be in the best shape, and not just because the #230 Z NISMO shared by Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda set the fastest time of the three development cars.

Even without looking at the times themselves, a glance at the run plan for each team tells the story.

In the opening session, there wasn’t much to choose between the three 2024 cars. Nissan did 32 laps, Honda completed 31 with its new Civic Type R-GT contender and Toyota’s revised GR Supra logged 28. None of the three manufacturers did a run of more than a few laps.

But in the second session, which lasted three hours, there was a marked difference between the three manufacturers. Nissan managed to get 75 laps in the books, more than a couple of the 2023 cars in that session, versus 59 for Honda and a mere 19 for Toyota.

More to the point, Nissan managed to do two long runs with Matsuda at the wheel of 20 laps (including 18 flying laps) each, while Honda embarked on a 12-lap run at the end of the session before the chequered flag fell. Toyota didn’t string together more than five.

Looking at the three long runs, there wasn’t much to choose between Nissan’s pair and the one done in the Civic (the exact driver is unknown as Honda, like Toyota, didn’t run driver transponders on its ’24 development car for the test), but the Honda driver suffered marginally more drop-off than Matsuda in either of his runs, which were done back-to-back.

For the final session, none of the three manufacturers did any more long runs, although it should be noted the Toyota test car completed a much more respectable 57 laps, more than either Honda (51) or Nissan (48).

Looking at the total number of laps done across the three sessions, Nissan led the way on 155, with Honda on 141 and Toyota lagging on 104. By way of comparison, the seven 2023 cars completed between 173 (Kondo Racing Nissan) and 225 (TOM’S Toyota) laps each.


Then there are the times themselves. Quintarelli’s best effort of 1m38.709s came in the Tuesday afternoon session during a short run, a little under an hour into the session. It was a little under seven tenths slower than Mitsunori Takaboshi’s effort in the #3 NDDP Racing Z, which came early in the session.

However, take Quintarelli’s best sectors and you get a lap of 1m38.465s, with almost all of the time loss to Takaboshi coming in the third sector — essentially, a slow left (Turn 9), a short straight, a slow right (Turn 10) and then a long straight.

Honda’s best time with the Civic (1m39.593s) came in the first session, when times across the board were slowest. That suggests there’s plenty of room for improvement, although looking at the best sector times across the whole three days only yields an ‘ideal’ lap of 1m39.553s.

Then there’s the Toyota GR Supra, which like the Nissan achieved its best time (1m39.916s) in the second session, towards the start of the final hour. Combining the best sector times across the entire test gives an ‘ideal’ lap of 1m39.775s, which is still somewhat off the pace.

Both the Honda and the Toyota were noticeably slower in every sector than the Nissan, as show in the below table, with the Toyota lagging behind the Honda in each part of the track by a smaller degree.

‘Ideal’ laps for each 2024 car:

Car Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3 Sector 4 ‘Ideal’ lap
Nissan #230


(Day 1 pm)


(Day 1 pm)


(Day 1 pm)


(Day 1 pm)

Honda #99


(Day 1 am)


(Day 1 am)

(Day 1 am)


(Day 2)

Toyota #90


(Day 1 am)

(Day 1 pm)


(Day 1 pm)


(Day 1 am)


Finally, a look at top speeds. This has always been Nissan’s strength since the introduction of the Z last year, and the 2024 version looks set to maintain that edge on the evidence so far, even if Motegi is not as a reliable guide on this front as a track like Fuji.

The #230 test car recorded a best speed trap figure across the test of 256.5km/h (159.4mph), against 254.7km/h (158.3mph) for the Honda and 254.1km/h (157.9mph) for the Toyota. All of these figures came in the afternoon on the opening day. For reference, leading the charts overall was the Kondo Nissan on 258.9km/h (160.9mph).

Interestingly though, in the first session, when the Civic recorded its best lap, its recorded top speed was only 252.9km/h (157.1mph). It’s possible Honda tried running the car with less downforce for the afternoon session, only to find this didn’t make the car any quicker overall.

Now, there are of course some caveats. The Nissan, for one, is running on Michelin tyres, which it won’t have next season as the French marque exits GT500. And all three manufacturers have almost certainly been running at reduced power. The conditions also won’t be similar to what teams face when they will race at Motegi in early November.

But there is enough evidence to say that Nissan looks like it is in position to make the best start to the 2024 season. Honda would be expected to lag slightly with such a radically new concept, but the real puzzler is Toyota’s sluggish pace with a car that outwardly doesn’t appear much different from the 2023 GR Supra.


Finally, a quick word on the 2023 cars, which were led by the Nakajima Racing Honda. Takuya Izawa gave the sole Dunlop-shod team in GT500 something to smile about when he posted a best effort 1m37.774s to top not only the final session but also the entire test by nearly three tenths.

And that wasn’t a glory run on fresh tyres at the very end of the session, instead coming towards the end of the first hour before the focus shifted to long runs.

That said, on the long runs, the standouts were the Impul Nissan and the Team Kunimitsu Honda, with the NDDP Nissan and #36 TOM’S Toyota not far behind. The Nakajima car lagged slightly, on a similar pace to the Kondo Nissan, with the Bandoh Toyota struggling.

Of course, the #16 ARTA Honda was missing from the test in terms of the title contenders, along with the Rookie Racing Toyota. Whether their absence proves a hindrance come November, when the series returns to Motegi with the title on the line, will be one of the themes to watch out for.

Motorsport.tv is showing all qualifying sessions and races for the 2023 SUPER GT season. For more information, click here.

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