The Super GT official tests and fan event took place on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 March at the Okayama International Circuit in Japan, and a large number of spectators enjoyed GT cars in action. Having finished a shakedown of their SUBARU BRZ GT300 during a tyre test on 7 March, the team efficiently put through planned test items from the first morning.
During the tyre test in the previous week, the newly built car suffered some troubles, which meant the team could not confirm the expected performance. However, they were able to solve the issues before the Super GT test – the first official event of the 2013 series, with the car in perfect condition. On the first morning, the team confirmed the basic performance and compatibility with new Michelin tyres, before moving onto chassis setting data collection in the afternoon.
Recording the 3rd fastest time in the class at this point, driver Tetsuya Yamano said, “I felt that the car went all right on these tyres, but we just started working on settings, and we haven’t reached the point where we can fight against top-class cars yet. In saying so, I have a positive feeling that we can fight for a win in the middle of the season”. Kota Sasaki echoed his teammate saying, “The first feel I got from the car was that the chassis had become solid. But we still feel some understeer, so it’s crucial to get used to this car as soon as possible. If we can control the handling by the settings, then we should be able to record good races”.
On the second day, the team carried out mainly long distance tests with actual race operations in mind to prepare for the season opener on this circuit. They needed to check the degree of wear relative to the number of laps run with the new tyres, as well as the impact of tyre wear along with fuel consumption on driving. They collected various data after effectively utilising the scheduled time -2 hours each in the morning and afternoon.
STI General Team Manager Hideharu Tatsumi commented, “I feel relieved to confirm, based on data and drivers’ comments that the car showed us the performance we had hoped for at the time of designing. However, we have some items still in the planning phase, so we have many more things to do. But I’d say that things have gone almost as planned so far”.