SUPER GT Rd.7 Chang International Circuit(Thailand)

Andrea Caldarelli in P4 scores points, holds onto Ranking 2 position. Oliver Jarvis in P7 overcoming misfortune and points earned


14sgt7-15Over the weekend of October 3rd to the 5th, at Chang International Circuit, a brand new circuit that opened in the Buriram Prefecture in Thailand, 2014 AUTOBACS SUPER GT Round 7, the “BURIRAM UNITED SUPER GT RACE” was held. For this track which was completed in August of this year, this round became the inaugural competition to officially open up itself, and stage a SUPER GT race that is well recognized around the world of course, and many motorsports fans showed up on the circuit to enjoy the heats of exciting battle take place. (Attendance figures Oct. 3 – 13,426, Oct. 4 – 42,597. Oct. 5 – 75,168 – thus totaling to 131,191 spectators for the whole weekend)


October 3 (FRI) – Free Practice Session



The first time ever that a SUPER GT event is being held, solid two hours of Free Practice were spent through this session which began from 15:00 on Friday. Under dry condition with temperatures reading 34 degrees C (Track temp. 54 degrees C), the drivers on 15 GT500 and 22 GT300 cars all went practicing (track length 4554m) for their first times, checking into the course layout and also the tarmac conditions, just as carefully as they do the checks with their machines.

Oliver Jarvis / Hiroaki Ishiura on LEXUS TEAM SARD positioned in 9th (1’27.464), while Andrea Caldarelli / Diasuke Ito on LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM’S currently at Ranking 2 and of course aiming to grab the title, was in P13 (1’27.831) after running these GT500 class practice heats.


October 4 (SAT)  Official Qualifying



Weather stayed nice throughout all of Saturday for the Qualifying, just the same as in previous days.


First off, from 10am Official Practice got underway for two hours. At the time, air temperature and the track temperature, just when starting the session were 34 degrees and 48 degrees respectively (midway through the session, track temp. climbed to 56 degrees C).


Oliver Jarvis / Hiroaki Ishiura on LEXUS TEAM SARD renewed their time marked the previous day by even more than a second and positioned 7th ‘1’26.208) whereas LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM’S with Andrea Caldarelli / Daisuke Ito lacking top speed due to weight handicap imposed (fuel restrictor ranked up by 1 level). Added with minor gear issues hindered their qualifying performance and though slight improvement in lap time was seen compared to the previous day, still the team could only finish this session in P15 (1’27.022).


Following the session, qualifying session for the support race, the pit walkabout, and the opening ceremony were held until finally the program moved on to the Q1 and Q2 of SUPER GT held according to the “Knockout” style.



Q1 of GT500 class took place for 15 minutes from 3:15pm just after Q1 of the GT300 class finished.

No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD RC F had Hiroaki Ishiura in charge of Q1, who improved the time to 1’25.540, pushing them to place 5th and thus a progress to Q1 could be made.

Oliver Jarvis in charge of the Q2 delivered a brilliant time attack of 1’25.353, improving even the best time they marked by themselves and clocking the top time of all Lexus’ too. However, other rivals and their speed were even quicker and the outcome of the team was 6th, allowing them to start from the third row on the grid.


Oliver Jarvis

“Of course we would have liked to be fighting for pole but after testing we knew this would be unrealistic. Are Nissan & Honda competitors appear to be very quick on this circuit. Therefore as top Lexus car we have to be pleased with our performance and hope for a strong race tomorrow.”


14sgt7-1Car No. 37 KeePer TOM’S RC F driven by Andrea Caldarelli in charge of Q1 strove at pushing strong and shrank the time result down to 1’26.110, positioning 4th on the timing monitor for some moment. However, towards the end of the session, many others improved their time as well. Thus, the session finished in P13 and an advance to Q2 did not work out.


Andrea Caldarelli

“In order to work with a machine that’s carrying various handicaps, we tried a variety of changes in the settling to fight the qualifying. Q1 attack was made with such a car reflecting slight improvements. And yet, we are in P13 but if you think this is the result of my pushing hard to the limit, there is nothing regrettable. Tomorrow’s race may turn into a tough battle having to chase and catch up with the point leader no. 23 (qualifying 3rd after Saturday), but let’s be sure to push strong, together with Daisuke.”


October 5  (SUN)  Race



Sunny weather kept up throughout the weekend, and on Sunday from 9:50am for 30 minutes, Free Practice session got underway. In the official qualifying from the previous day, the two LEXUS RC F machines driven by GRM drivers could not help struggling a bit, but in this session where some of the last checks are made on the car towards the Race, Oliver Jarvis and his teammate clocked the top time of 1’25.873.


Here, No. 37 KeePer TOM’s RC F with the combination of Andrea Caldarelli and veteran driver Daisuke Ito positioned third with the time of 1’26.129, aroused some big expectations towards the race.





Soon the clock ticked 15:00, time to start the 66-lap battle of SUPER GT Round 7.



Starting from 13th relatively toward the back-grid, Andrea Caldarelli on 37 KeePer TOM’S RC F rose to P10 by the 10th lap. Keeping the momentum, and as catching up slowly but surely, continued his stride while the rivals began to make their routine pit-stops from around the 33rd lap. Then, at the point of 38 laps down, No. 37 also went for a pit stop. However there, the team tried the strategy of going without any change of tyres, just refueled, in order to save time! Hence, this shorter pit-stop added with Andrea’s great efforts pushed No. 37 to the top of the field. Only however, on this new track plotted with long straights and also quite a number of such lengthy stretches tormented even the well-experienced driver Ito as well, and towards the end could not help but let three rivals who excelled in speed overtake … Thus, PETRONAS TEAM TOM’S was chequered in 4th position.


14sgt7-8Andrea Caldarelli

“It turned out to be a good weekend after all. Even with difficult conditions, I was able to come in 4th (gain 8 points) and cling onto 2nd in the series ranking. Only regret is missing the podium and could not recover the top position in the championship just yet. Otherwise, we just lacked the top speed. Throughout the weekend, compared with the rivals our top speed was anyway slow, so we decided to place more emphasis on the corner speed in my stint. During the first half of the race, pace was good and with no tyre change at pit-stop, for one moment we did get to P1. In the coming last round Motegi, see us fight for the series champion’s crown!



14sgt7-2Over at DENSO KOBELCO SARD RC F, Oliver given the chance to serve as a starting driver kicked off strong from P6, but was hit by one GT500 and could not hold spinning off, positioning down to P14. However, Oliver who always drives at high pace demonstrated some of the most amazing catch up, and by the time it was over 10 laps or so, emerged to 9th place. Then by the 23rd lap, position recovered up to 6th, and after 36 laps some further improvement made up to P9. No. 39 made no tyre change and only refueled when Hiroaki Ishiura took over No. 39, and returned to the field. However, from where the race got down to 20 laps to go, abrasion of tyres started to stress and delay Ishiura’s pace. With strong vibration and mechanical issues, Ishiura was down to driving in P7, and which was also how their race ended in this flyaway race.


14sgt7-9Oliver Jarvis

“I am frustrated with the outcome. Race pace was unbelievably good, in fact even if collision occurred, our podium finish seemed possible. And indeed, those two cars that reached the podium are ones I closed into, so I find this result hard to accept. But come to think of it, – on the final lap and in the Last Corner, if your tyres had a puncture and still finished the race, then you should feel lucky to be in P7!”













SUPER GT Round 8 will be held on November 15 to 16th at Twin Ring Motegi (Tochigi Prefecture) as the final round of the 2014 season.