MURATA, Japan - The Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 once again saw the top step of the podium this weekend following a thrilling round 5 of the Super GT held at Sportsland SUGO.
The race began under pristine, clear autumn skies and the #12 GT-R driven by Nobuharu Matsushita maintained a third starting grid position while engaging in a fierce battle for second. Although he briefly dropped down to fourth following a fierce skirmish, he went on to overtake one rival at the second corner of lap 20 and then again at High Point Corner in lap 21 to move up to second place. At the same time, the #3 GT-R, which had been running in fifth, passed a rival in lap 23 to climb to fourth.
After the midpoint of the race, when all GT500 machines had finished their required pit stops, the #12 GT-R was still running in second, the #3 GT-R in fifth, the #24 GT-R in 14th, and the #23 GT-R in 15th. It was shortly after that the race took a tumultuous turn.
Unfortunately, in lap 37, the #3 GT-R was forced to retire due to minor engine trouble. Then in lap 46, the race leader was handed a drive-through penalty while on lap 47, another car caught fire exiting the final corner, which brought out the safety car. When the race restarted in lap 55 the #12 GT-R was now running in first place with a margin of less than two seconds over the chasing competition.
Towards the end of the race the #12 GT-R widened the gap with the rest of the field as it headed towards the checkered flag at a steady pace. Driver Kazuki Hiramine steadily maintained his lead before taking his first win of the season. This was the first win in the GT500 class for both Hiramine and Matsushita and the second consecutive win for the GT-R following the podium sweep at the previous round held at Suzuka. The #24 GT-R finished 6th, and the #23 GT-R seventh to round out a solid start to the second half of the season for the Nissans.
In the GT300 class, five Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s competed and, despite carrying a mammoth 'success weight' of 81kg, the #56 Realize Nissan Automobile Technical College GT-R (Kiyoto Fujinami / Joao Paulo de Oliveira), displayed a valiant performance to leap from a 10th place qualifying position to finish on the podium in third place.
The next round of the SUPER GT will be held at AUTOPOLIS on October 24.
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