Raw guttural exhausts, high-lift idling, stoic crew faces, the smell of automotive fuel and the heady smell of synthetic rubber. There can be no mistake; we are talking about long-awaited Round 3 of the Super GT Series 2013.
Having previously completed two races back in Japan at Okayama and Fuji respectively, the teams have finally arrived once again, with their machines at Sepang International Circuit. Running full page advertorials, the Malaysians were all hyped over the arrival of the Japanese, which had become an annually scheduled major event on Sepang International Circuit’s calendar.
With the schedule only calling for circuit practice on Saturday, Friday’s order of the day involved vehicle scrutinizing. Teams waited patiently in-line for officials to inspect the order and condition of the machines, from which vehicles were given the all clear. the teams did not waste a single second, as they got down to marking pit-in boxes, as well as dry pit practices to avoid unnecessary time loss through tyre changes, driver changes and refueling.
Saturday arrived soon after, with teams all raring to jump out of the pits to maximise practise time on the track. On an instant after the siren went off, the GT500 series of Nissan GT-Rs, Lexus SC430s and Honda HSV-010s leapt out of their pits and screamed full throttle down to Turn 1, where they zipped through with kart-like reflexes, clearing the relatively technical Malaysian circuit with ease.
Setting the record benchmark at the end of qualifying day for the GT500 class was the Calsonic IMPUL GT-R, with an impressive 1’55”456 record that firmly put the statement down, “Sepang is home to the GT-R” once again. In second place for the GT500 category was the flashy chrome red Zent Cerumo team’s Lexus SC430. The GT300 qualifying shocked many more, with the hybrid Arta CR-Z GT machine decimating the time with a 2’03”025, followed closely behind by another Honda CR-Z from Team Mugen.
Race day had many held in bated breath. As the safety car pulled out of the formation lap, the intense heat was on. Brilliant overtaking and position-changes soon happened, with the Weider Module DOME Racing Honda HSV-010 performing brilliantly, even taking a lead from the leading Calsonic IMPUL GT-R; until its H-010 engine refused to start after the mandatory driver change, causing the hard-earned lead to be lost.
It was certainly an eye-opener, having experienced and watched first-hand and up-close, how the integration of teamwork, driver, patience and machine worked together to helped create the ending that many teams continue to pursuit; victory. Till then, Super GT Series 2014…
Read the full story in REV Issue #33, out on the shelves on 20 July !
Text: Aaron Hia, Photos: Vince Carlo & Team REV