• May 5, 2008


Click above for a huge, high-res gallery of Rd. 3 of the '08 SuperGT season.

After previous incarnations of the Nissan GT-R ran away with successive JGTC titles, Japan's GT Association decided to inflict "success ballast" on race winners in an attempt to level the playing field (i.e give Toyota and Honda a chance).

As the current GT-R race car is built to 2009 Super GT specifications, the GT-A handed it a weight penalty of 50kgs added right from the start of the season. After winning Round 1 in Suzuka car number 23 had to carry an additional 50kgs at Round 2 in Sugo, which it promptly won anyway. Then thanks to also setting numerous fastest laps and other speeding offenses it was deemed that Benoit Treluyer and Satoshi Motoyama's ride would have to port an massive 200ks (440lbs) of ballast at this weekend's race at Fuji Speedway.

That presents a couple of problems. Firstly, where the heck do you safely stow 200kgs of lead? And would the car meet GT-A regulations even if Nissan found a way to do it? The ruling body's compromise was to give the car a 115kg penalty and fit a stifling restrictor to the GT-R's air intake. That knocked 30kph off the GT-R's maximum velocity at the end of Fuji's 1.5km straight, and in the words of Benoit, "Gives us no chance at all."

Follow through the jump to find out if he was right, and to find out how Lightning McQueen faired in GT300 after qualifying on pole yesterday.



GT500

Three laps after the rolling start it was clear that Benoit's prediction was spot on. While Honda NSXs and Lexus SC430s battled for the lead, car number 23 was already slipping back towards the GT300 field rather than chasing down the leaders. Takashi Kogure had squeezed his Takata NSX on to pole, and managed to keep the lead until he spun on lap 22, gifting the lead to the Zent Cerumo Lexus SC430, first driven by Yuji Tachikawa, then by Richard Lyons after the second pit stop, then by Yuji again all the way to the checkered flag. Meanwhile, tactics worthy of Ron Dennis and Ross Brawn leap frogged Juichi Wakisaka and Andre Lotterer's SC430 from fifth to second over the 110 lap race.

1 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 Y.Tachikawa/R.Lyons 110 3:02'28.036
2 36 ETRONAS TOM'S SC430 J.Wakisaka/A.Lotterer 110 0'13.882
3 18 TAKATA DOME NSX R.Michigami/T.Kogure 110 0'15.893

GT300

It takes a lot to drown out the sound of 30 Super GT cars wailing down a mile long straight at full chat, but several thousand Japanese school kids managed just that when rookie Lightning McQueen took the lead in the closing stages of the race after arch rival Chick Hicks the Cusco Subaru Impreza got called in to the pits, not once but twice for racing infractions. Recent returnee from Europe's GP2 championship Kohei Hirate had put in a masterful flying lap on super soft tires to seal pole position for McQueen on Saturday, but the team then gambled that the comparatively frugal 3.5-liter MR-S could manage all 500 kms with just one fuel stop and on two sets of hard rubber. Despite starting heavy, McQueen never dropped out of the top five, but the two drivers, who aren't much older than McQueen's fan base, didn't have it easy fighting first Porsches, then the Impreza and the Leopalace Z all the way to the flag.

1 95 Lightning McQueen apr MR-S K.Hirate/K.Kunimoto 101 3:02'34.661
2 46 MOLA LEOPALACE Z K.Hoshino/H.Yasuda 101 0'26.739
3 2 Privee KENZO Asset Shiden K.Takahashi/H.Katoh 101 0'44.019

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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 25 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      In future races, the cars will have to drag a couple ship anchors behind them.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Give the winner a 100kg trophy for each race and require the race team to stow it inside the car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Punishing a car for winning. Its called "rewards" weight in World Challenge. Its setup to try and keep costs down in series. If the cars win, they weigh more and they go slower.

      Tries to keep the racing more competitive.

      http://gtrusa.blogspot.com
      • 6 Years Ago
      pic 31 :D
      • 6 Years Ago
      JGTC cars are tube frame cars and have almost no relationship to the actual car. They are kind of like Nascar stock cars in that way. They are not legal for Lemans or the ALMS or the European Lemans series. Until Japan builds a GT-R to FIA international rules they are hiding from the Aston's, Corvette's, Ferrari's, and Porsche's. Maybe it wouldn't be competitive against the big boys. We won't know unless they try.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I thought the JGTC cars met FIA international rules, just not ACO rules? This is similar to the Maserati MC12 that ran in FIA GT in Europe and (with no eligibility for points) ALMS a few years back.

        When you see an article like this or the comments showing their lack of understanding, you see this car is getting new people into road racing. This is a great thing. This is why IMSA needs to figure out how to get the car into ALMS and Nissan needs to put some effort into getting it into other series too. I'll be good for Nissan and it'll be good for racing.

        Come on Scott (Atherton), figure this one out for us.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Maserati MC12 never met the homologation rules for FIA GT-1 so it was not eligible for points. But it was based on a real car like the Vettes and Astons so they let it run. It can now run here but with a penalty of smaller wheels and tires. Tube frame cars can not run in FIA GT classes. Nissan will have to homologate an actual GT-R to run in GT-1 or GT-2. I hope they do, so we can see them at Lemans and Sebring and all the worldwide venues, instead of just running an insular series like Nascar. Bring on Toyota too. It's better to have worldwide on the track competion not just fanboys playing computer games
        • 6 Years Ago
        I still wondering why Nissan does not race their Ring laptime wonder waepon at the 24h at the Ring.. I bet they fear to lose their face if it gets raped by a Viper, Corvette, 911 or M3... nice that Lexus has the balls to race the 24h with the LF-A.
      • 6 Years Ago
      WTF they might as well ban the GT-Rs, or start a new separate class for them. Amazing car, and I still can't understand how it is so fast (straight line and bends) yet so cheap (w/o markups, anyway) and despite its weight and whatever else. Amazing
      • 6 Years Ago
      Please autoblog, what's with the first paragraph?

      Rewards weight is part of the rules in JGTC, as it is in many series. It's not new because Nissan was winning. And in fact, Nissan had to add rewards weight after each of the first two races and still won.

      Rewards weight is there because of the reality of how difficult it is to equalize the performance of different cars. The series is equalized (like many others) because it keeps costs down, it essentially makes it impossible (or as much as possible) for any team to win every race and so in theory no team will overspend in order to try to do so.

      Most racing is equalized. Hence the statement that most races are won by convincing the equalization board to change your equalization (give you a larger restrictor, more gas in the tank, reduced minimum weight).

      You just as easily could have told this story about the Corvettes and Aston Martins in American LeMans in 2006. The Corvettes had won so much during the series in 2006 that they had to carry so much rewards weight that it was considered unsafe. It was causing the brakes to fail on the Corvette. So instead of adding weight to the Corvettes at this race IMSA subtracted weight from the Aston Martins. The Aston Martins ended up winning, but the automatic Le Mans berth was not given to them because the ACO pointed out that the Aston Martins were below the minimum weight required by the ACO for a GT1 class car due to the weight taken off. This was all despite the Corvettes having an extra 121 pounds at the start of the season because they had been so successful in the past.

      For another interesting case, look at the last R8 win at Le Mans in 2005.

      As alluded to in this link:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_24_Hours_of_Le_Mans

      The R8 was penalized because it was an older design. Due to a new, smaller restrictor it was actually slower and had worse acceleration down the Mulsanne Straight than any other car in its class. It even was slower than many GT1 cars on straights (in these times of the Pratt & Miller Corvettes and Prodrive Aston Martins, the GT1 cars are typically faster than LMP2 cars at Le Mans). The R8s could be seen drafting the Astons and Corvettes out of the corners and on the long straights. When they did this, this allowed the R8s to compensate for their reduction in HP by reducing aero drag.

      So the R8 managed to win despite not being the fastest car in the field, through reliability and efficient operations in the pits. Given how much more aerodynamic a LMP1 car is than a GT1 car, it almost certainly means the R8 wasn't even as powerful as the Corvettes and Astons.

      In extreme cases there can even be changes to the base equalization (the part not based upon wins) to cars in the middle of the season. In 2004 in Speed World Challenge GT, the Cadillac CTS-Vs were adjusted after the first race. In the first race, the Cadillacs started 1-2, and the 2nd car (Max Angelelli I think) was spun on the first lap. Then at the back of the pack, Max drove the car through almost the entire field in less than half the race, and finished in 3rd, having clearly demonstrated the Cadillacs had far more HP than they should. The Cadillacs were then hit with a raft of rule changes, including fixing the driver's seat position, prohibiting development on the drivetrain and a reduction in the engine redline to a level below that of a stock showroom-bought CTS-V.
        • 6 Years Ago
        exactly the same happens to Audi this season in the DTM...
        weight penatlys are a way to make a race series more interesting to watch.

        There is a complicated rule book about the car weights in the DTM.

        they have a basic MINIMUM car weight for each modelyear. They are not allowed to be lighter..

        minimum weight
        2008cars 1050kg
        2007cars 1040kg
        2006cars 1030kg

        after each race they raise or lower the weight for a complete modelyear and manufactor..

        ath the 3th race in Mugello
        Audi 2008 1060kg
        Audi 2007 1045kg
        Audi 2006 1020kg
        Mercedes 2008 1045kg
        Mercedes 2007 1045kg

        because of the strict regulations DTM cars are much closer to each other in perfromance as the japanese Super GT.

        Weight handicap is something normal in GT and Touringcar racing since decades..and has nothing to do with the GT-R..

      • 6 Years Ago
      Hello NaScAr Fan's lol I don't know thats all it makes me think of
      • 6 Years Ago
      they run to there own set of rules, so they dont meet any of the FiA GT class regs. They also dont meet Nurburgring 24hrs
        • 6 Years Ago
        The NSX GT500 raced the Ring in 2005..

        It still can race the 24h at the Ring in the 24h "special class"
        • 6 Years Ago
        they arent legal now. i wasnt talking past tense
        • 6 Years Ago
        JGTC race cars raced the 24h at the Ring..

        Honda NSX GT500
        R33 Skyline GT-R
        R34 Skyline GT-R
        they used in the Skyline the JGTC race engine, trannys, suspension brakes

        The NSX GT500(ex mobile 1 car) was a fully JGTC racer which was raced by the sportauto car magazine (whith direct support from Honda) without any restrictors..

        The NSX GT500 Ring perfromance was extrem poor.. the car completely lacked in endurance, which forced Honda to rebuild it with GT300 parts and lower the power to 420hp to improve the endurance as a 24h racer, during the race the bumpy Ring killed the connection between engine tranny and differential.. the car lost lot of oil and died in the 8hour..
        The Team Falken Skyline GT-R Ring race history isn´t much better... in 9years hunting for overall victory they placed only 5th place overall as best result.
        The Nismo JGTC engins lacked completely in endurance, driven with enough boost to fight vs Viper, 911 and M3 the engine or tranny did not survive 24h... driven with the boost to survive 24h the Skyline had no chance to follow the topteams.. which shows the finish places of the Skylines racing the 24h from 2001-2005... 5th, 54th, 162th, 178th, 185th, 188th, 192th, 195th, not finished


      F1Mikal
      • 6 Years Ago

      Anyone know how we can see these races??
      DVD? Satellite?
      Because SPEED is roundy roundy race channel.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Way to present the full picture autoblog. First of all, the only GT-R carrying a weight penalty this race was the Xanavi Nismo GT-R (50kgs). The winning SC430 and the second place SC430 had 10kg & 20kg weight penalties respectively, While the NSX that took the pole had a level one performance enhancement (i.e. larger...[smaller?] restrictor)
      Secondly, weight penalties apply for EVERYONE on the grid who placed from 1st through 5th as well as for 1st through 3rd in qualifying and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd fastest laps.

      BS journalism, banwaggonism and downright bias at its finest.

      Autoblog has achieved a new low.
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