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Takata Dome Acura NSX - JGTC Pre-Season Test Session

Scene: JGTC Pre-Season Test Session; Fuji International Speedway; Fujinomiya, Japan

Yoshifumi Nakamura
Jul 1, 2003
Photographer: Yoshifumi Nakamura, (Tetsu Photo Japan)
Sstp_0307_01_z+takata_dome_acura_nsx_jgtc_session+front_view Photo 1/1   |   Takata Dome Acura NSX - JGTC Pre-Season Test Session

Editor's Note: As you may have already noticed, we love the All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship (JGTC) only slightly more than our limited-edition Luke Skywalker light sabers. That's a lot of love because we're always fondling our light sabers. Fortunately, our buddy Yoshi Nakamura from Tetsu Photo Japan was able to give us that good stuff we need so badly. No, not a reach-around, but rather a report on the GT Association's pre-season testing.

The motorsport season is just around the corner. With the GT pre-season test held in mid-March at Fuji International Speedway, many brand-new machines were in attendance, and some were so new that their carbon-fiber skins were left unpainted. The GT Association regulations only allow for two hours of track time in the morning with another two-hour session in the afternoon, and the purpose of the test allows the teams to ensure that their new cars not only meet the regulations but are also competitive. This season marks the 10th anniversary of the JGTC, and it arrives with tighter technical regulations designed to increase the competitiveness and reduce the speeds, which have risen drastically in the last few years. Even with the new rules, many of the top teams continue to go faster.

2018 Acura NSX
$156,000 Base Model (MSRP) 21/22 MPG Fuel Economy

The Supras have converted their engines from the turbocharged 2000cc inline-four 3S-GTEs of last season to the normally aspirated 5200cc V-8 3UZ-FEs [OE displacement is 4.3 liters]. The NSXs have changed the engine position from a horizontal to a longitudinal layout. I had a chance to talk to Mr. Yamamoto, the manager of the Autobacs Seven Motorsports Group, title sponsor of the ARTA NSX. He said, "This machine was assembled only three days ago. So this is a really new car!" The new (number 23) GT-R machine did not appear due to engine trouble, but the GT-R evolution machine (number 22) was on the track.

The Garaiya GT300R and Nissan Fairlady Z (350Z) are 100 percent newcomers. The GT300R features a 1988cc turbocharged inline-four Nissan SR20 engine and was developed and built by Autobacs Sportscar Laboratory. This machine, with its gull-wing doors, looks like a prototype class car. The new Fairlady Z uses a normally aspirated 3572cc V-6 VQ35DE and is currently one of the most popular sports cars in Japan. Many Z fans are excited to see this pocket rocket machine on a track-and so am I.

The first day was fine but a little cold with the temperature at 50 degrees F. Many machines left the pits only to come back in after a couple of laps. Teams made adjustments to the engine, suspension, tires, and mechanical parts. It was my impression that the Supras were very fast in the corners. My opinion was supported by the fact that the Supras captured the first to fourth positions. "The new Supra can reduce the time on every corner, so the performance is improved. The naturally aspirated engine is very powerful from the low revs, compared with last year's turbocharged engine," says Yuji Tachikawa, driver of the number 38 au Cerumo Supra.

The second test day was on Saturday and many GT fans came to Fuji Speedway to see the new machines. They said they couldn't wait until the first competition at the Ti circuit. When the morning session started, it was cloudy and a cold rain came at the middle of session, bringing temperatures down to 44 degrees F. The lap speeds went down, too. The teams compensated by testing their rain-condition setups. The Takata Dome NSX was the fastest car in this condition (1:34.363). The competition will be held here [at Fuji Speedway] in May-and we don't have much rain in May. The Supras should have an advantage. In the GT300 class, the Fairlady Z held the first position in every session. It is a real pocket rocket.

{{{GT}}} Pre-Season Test Day One
First Number 1 Esso Ultraflo {{{Supra}}} 1:23.180*
Second Number 38 au Cerumo Supra 1:23.282
Third Number 36 Tom's Supra 1:23.840
Fourth Number 39 Denso Sard Supra 1:23.976
Fifth Number 18 Takata Dome {{{NSX}}} 1:24.993
Sixth Number 22 Motul Pitwork {{{GT-R}}} 1:25.145
Sixth Number 22 Motul Pitwork GT-R 1:25.145
Sixth Number 22 Motul Pitwork GT-R 1:25.145
*New Fuji Speedway circuit record

GT Pre-Season Test Day Two
First Number 1 Esso Ultraflo Supra 1:26.930
Second Number 18 Takata Dome NSX 1:28.744
Third Number 39 Denso Sard Supra 1:29.424
Fourth Number 16 G'ZOX NSX 1:30.806
Fifth Number 64 Mobil 1 NSX 1:31.050
Sixth Number 76 McLaren GTR 1:31.504
Note: The Day Two times were recorded in the morning session before the rainy conditions.

By Yoshifumi Nakamura
2 Articles

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