SUPER GT Rd.2 Fuji

A. Caldarelli with a 5th place finish, O. Jarvis in 6th, both GRM drivers earn points from a long survival race!


fujiThe 2nd round of 2014 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, “FUJI GT 500KM RACE”, unfolded over the weekend of May 3 – 4 at Fuji Speedway.

Andrea Caldarelli of LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM’S, after capturing victory a month ago in the previous race (in Okayama) which was season’s opening round as well as a debut race for LEXUS RC F, and Oliver Jarvis of LEXUS TEAM SARD with a 4th place finish from the same race both delivered brilliant performances before a large SUPER GT crowd totaling to 89,400 gathered about for this one big race during the Golden Week (*major holiday week in Japan).


(Audience figures:  32,300/May 3rd and 57,200/May 4th)



May 3rd (SAT & National Holiday)  Official Qualifying


39 2On Saturday all day and regions by the foot of Mt. Fuji could not ask for better or more “golden” springtime weather. Already from the Official Free Practice in the morning (9:00 – 11:00), over 30,000 GT lovers attended to join the great excitement.


Each team readied their machine conditions during the 2 hours of practice heats, where Jarvis of DENSO KOBELCO SARD RC F (No. 39) clocked a 7th position time of 1’30.655. Meanwhile, KeePer TOM’S RC F imposed with a 40kg weight handicap (WH) this time due to their result from the last round and as mandated by the sporting regulations of SUPER GT, placed 8th (1’30.719) from this session. For both GRM drivers, it was not too bad a way to start the weekend.


39 3At 14:20, the first part of qualifying trials (Q1) by 15 machines of GT500 began.

For No. 39 (WH of 16kg) wrapped in DENSO color, Oliver Jarvis was the first driver up to make time-attack pursuits. With an 8th position time of 1’30.261 and advancing to the Q2 confirmed, machine was then handed to teammate Hiroaki Ishiura. In the Q2 competed among the top 8 qualifiers from the Q1, Ishiura timed 1’29.824 and the team finished Saturday in position 7.







Oliver Jarvis

“In the morning practice, machine balance wasn’t as good so we adjusted the setting for the qualifying. But even so, the result is still P7, which isn’t the most satisfying result. GT-R force was all very quick. Tomorrow’s race will be a long one however, and who knows, in the last race we started from P9 and finished in 4th place, so maybe (here too) we can aim at the podium as going from P7!?”


37 3No. 37 in KeePer color was driven by veteran driver Daisuke Ito up first for Q1, delivering a 1’30.196 time, placing 6th. Next, Andrea Caldarelli in charge of Q2 further improved the time to 1’29.987 and resulted in 8th from the qualifying.










Andrea Caldarelli

“Machine carrying 40kg of WH was something quite unknown for us, so from early morning the machine setup had to be changed quite a bit to prepare us for the qualifying. Things were far better in the quali, and even placing 8th after all, our lap times are actually not so bad so let’s look forward to tomorrow. In the morning practice, let’s check and see if we are in good shape for the long race!”



May 4th (SUN)  Race

37 2Sunday was again under the best auspices suited for a race day, and from 8:30am (Air temp. 17 degrees C/Track temp. 27 deg. C) the Free Practice session began and lasted for 30 minutes. Teams all worked towards finalizing their machine setups adjusted to the race to take place later in the day. Caldarelli/Ito on No. 37 placed 7th (1’31.854), and Jarvis/Ishiura on No. 39 finished the session with a 9th position time (1’32.012).


Finally the clock ticked 2:00 pm. Under great sunshine, somewhat resembling that of early summer, GT500 (15 cars) and GT300 (24 cars) rolled off for the goal of 500 km (110 laps) ahead!



37 6KeePer TOM’S RC F entrusted the first stint to Daisuke Ito keeping up a fair pace in P8 for a while, but due to an accident involving a GT300 machine, from the 5th lap to the 10th lap, Safety Car run was introduced in such early laps of the race. Regardless, upon re-start veteran driver Ito, as skillfully holding off No. 39 climbed to P7. Also in the 19th lap, with car no. 46 (S Road MOLA GT-R) running in P2 at the time catching fire, another SC run had to be executed. Given these circumstances, various teams decided to pit in just as the field was moving on to the 36th lap, and with this No. 37 resumed the race again positioning in 6th. By then, the race had finished 22 laps of the race.



37 7Eventually, on the 36th lap and just as many teams started going to the pit again, No. 37 was overtaken by car no. 6 on the 1st corner, and on it went until making its pit stop on the 41st lap. From this point, the machine was handed to Andrea Caldarelli who joined the field in P8, passed one car on the 59th lap and No. 37 was back in P7. Then, on the 63rd lap with the race leader no. 23 (MOTUL AUTECH GT-R) dropping out of the top pack, also as seizing car no. 39 as well, No. 37 jumped up to P5. Eventually on the 79th lap the second pit stop was made, with now Andrea’s Japanese teammate taking the steer. And though due to this pit-in timing LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM’S lost one position down to P6, on the 108th lap fighting fiercely tail to nose with No. 39, Ito won back position 5 from this hard battle and received the chequer!


CAL 1Andrea Caldarelli

“It turned out to be a good race. I had expected it to be much tougher race, and indeed it was tough but being able to manage my stint well, I enjoyed it. It’s never easy on the tires, but we got by with it somehow. We could not help creating some time loss in the pit stop, which cost us a position down, but Daisuke pushed hard and made recovery to get us a P5 finish. We did have good possibilities for a podium finish too, so that part is to be regretted a bit..”




39 1


Now, DENSO KOBELCO SARD RC F with Hiroaki Ishiura up first and starting from the 7th grid drew back to P8 shortly after the first re-start. However during the second SC run with some machines pitting in, it moved back up to 7th position and continued with a constant race pace. However, No. 39’s pace never got any better and on the 29th lap was even passed by car no. 6 (ENEOS SUSTINA RC F) on the 1st Corner. Thus, it was running back in 8th again.

Then, on finishing the 38th lap, a routine pit stop was made and the machine was handed to Oliver Jarvis. The British driver in his second-ever SUPER GT race clung onto P7 driving at a very high pace, striving throughout the middle segment of the race, passed a car on the 57th lap and positioned up to P6! Then on the 76th lap the second pit-in was made by the team. By speedy pit-work and driver change, Ishiura was in charge of the last stint, pushing hard in P4 during the last laps. But on the 94th lap, on 1st Corner passed by a GT-R (no. 24) which tends to be strong on a straight-line, it was back running in P5. Further, on the 108th lap, overtaken by car 37, No. 39 settled to a 6th place finish.


JAR 2Oliver Jarvis

“I am rather disappointed with the result. Including pit-stop actions, the team did an excellent job that was worth pushing us to the podium even, but the machine itself was just not quick enough. We did try resetting the machine balance in various ways, but could not get everything sorted out. However, with a 6th place finish and some points gained, let’s go on to the next round with the team further united as one. I want to thank all the fans who supported LEXUS TEAM SARD the weekend long!”





The next round of SUPER GT Rd. 3 will be held over May 31(SAT) – June 1 (SUN) at Autopolis (in Kyushu).