SUPER GT Rd.2 Fuji

Andrea Caldarelli starting from the tail end gets a P5 finish, Andre Couto also in P5 starting from 11th grid – GRM drivers score points in their respective classes!


16gt2-FanOver May 3–4th, the 2016 AUTOBACS SUPER GT Round 2 “FUJI GT 500km RACE” was held at Fuji Speedway located in the famous Mt.Fuji region. As one major motor-sporting event that everybody looks forward to during Japan’s Golden Week holidays each year, many supporters showed up in families, and enjoyed the hot and dynamic battling of the GT machines! (Official audience figures: May 3 (TUE) – 35,700 / May 4 (WED) – 50,100)





May 3 (TUE)  Official Qualifying


16gt2-CAL3Earlier in the day, the official practice session (9:00am – 10:50am) began under light overcast of clouds, but in Dry condition. 15 machines of the GT500 and 29 of the GT300 headed out towards the track.

Andrea Caldarelli of LEXUS TEAM LEMANS WAKO’S and his teammate Kazuya Oshima took turns driving No. 6 WAKO’S 4CR RC F through this session and marked their best time of 1’29.312, positioning 6th.

At GAINER, Andre Couto and teammate Ryuichiro Tomita chalked up many laps with GAINER TANAX GT-R, which bears the champion number of “0”. However, their best time stuck to 1’39.170 due to a mechanical trouble, the duo could only finish the session in P24.



16gt2-COU1Soon, this day’s program moved onto the first heat of Qualifying (Q1)…

Q1 (14:30 – 14:45, 19℃/ Track 27℃) for the GT300 class only, saw Ryuichiro Tomita in good control of No. 0 GAINER TANAX GT-R, delivering strong time-attacking pursuits. With 1’37.187, the team in 12th proceeded to the Q2.


Then up next, Andre Couto on the steering of No. 0 GT-R clocking 1’36.618 raised a few more positions up for the team to finish 9th at the end of the qualifying day.






Andre Couto

“The team worked to solve some of those issues we had in the morning, so we were able to position 9th on the grid. In tomorrow’s long 500km race, both Tomita and I will work hard together targeting a podium finish!”





16gt2-CAL1Meanwhile, Andrea Caldarelli appointed to run in the Q1 for GT500 (14:50 – 15:05) brought LEXUS TEAM LEMANS WAKO’S marking 1.28.563 and positioning 9th. However, given a penalty for off-tracking the designated course at one point during this session, the applicable lap-time marked had to be erased and the team was to start from 15th on the race grid.


Andrea Caldarelli

“Sadly, it was not such a good qualifying for us. We tried giving our best performance, with only small margin between us and the upper positions, actually. In fact, we were almost there to break through Q1. Tomorrow, we will start from the very back grid, but it’s a long race so never give up. We will focus on catching up and pushing very hard from behind!”



May 4 (WED)  Race


16gt2-FujiThe rain-front which passed through the region the night before heavily wetted and soaked the grounds. With some wind and a bit of such influence still remaining, rather strong winds blew across the venue on Wednesday morning where the Free Practice (8:30am – 9:00am) session was set to begin. Mt.Fuji showed up clearly on this day and now pleasant sunshine showered over and all across, quickly drying the track.

In this session, No. 6 WAKO’S 4CR RC F clocked an impressive P2 time (1’30.891), and proved being in good shape for the approaching race. No. 0 GAINER TANAX GT-R also did its machine checking and prepared for the afternoon’s long battle. With 1’40.060 from this session, the Portuguese and Japanese pair was in P17 of the GT300s.


16gt2-startAs the winds toned down, bright sun started shining down over the track and soon it was 14:00 – “Time to Race!” Temperatures soon climbed to 22℃ (Track: 40℃) and under the most perfect racing-day weather, 44 machines (15 of GT500, 29 of GT300 mixed) fired up for the long 500km (4563m x 110 laps) fight from the Start to Finish!








16gt2-CAL8LEXUS TEAM LEMANS WAKO’S which had to start from the rearmost of all GT500 grids had Kazuya Oshima in charge of driving the first stint. Oshima who has a full grasp of WAKO’S 4CR RC F drove strong and hopped up many positions from the early laps, – on the 7th lap in P14, then P13 on the 18th lap, P12 on the 21st lap, and by the 28th lap P11. With an unstoppable fine pace, No. 6 finally went to do its first pit-stop passed its 38th lap – which was after most competitors had completed theirs. Upon refueling and change of tyres, also the switch of drivers took place from Oshima to Andrea.


16gt2-CAL4At the point all 15 cars of the GT500 class had done the first pit-stops, WAKO’s 4CR RC F was running in P10. On the 42nd lap, Andrea passed one machine and then up to P9. The 26-year old Italian continuing to drive aggressively as renewing No. 6’s best time, now on the 56th lap showed a brilliant overtaking on Turn 1, and up again to P8. Not willing to stop his high pace, on the 60th lap further up to P7! However, just as all GT500s entered the 72nd lap, one of the GT500 machines crashed, causing the Safety Car to come in. With this, all the teams got busy in the garage. Team director Juichi Wakisaka ordered LEXUS TEAM LEMANS WAKO’S to head back to the pit on the 78th lap as soon as the Pit was “open”. No. 6 quickly returned for its second pit-stop and a driver change to Kazuya Oshima assigned with the last stint. As the race resumed, after some laps one of the machines ahead had to draw back due to a penalty, and therefore No. 6 driven by Oshima was able to move up to P6. Near the end on 109th lap, due to an accident the race leader had to give up the battle line and the lead! This pushed WAKO’S 4CR RC F up to the 5th position. Oshima went onward giving his utmost till the chequer flag and as a result, LEXUS TEAM LEMANS WAKO’S in P5 gained 6 points.


16gt2-CAL2Andrea Caldarelli:

“Starting the race from P15 and finishing in P5 – I have to say it’s Good. Machine was greatly improved from yesterday, and we made sure to score some points too. We were close though – enough to have a podium finish if without those few seconds of time loss during our pit-in, pit-out actions, so this is one thing regrettable. Before the next round, let’s make sure these issues are solved after some more careful discussions with my team. Again, I thank the many fans who were here for us today! Thank you very much!”





16gt2-COU5In the GT300 class, GAINER TANAX GT-R was driven by Ryuichiro Tomita first, as kicking off from the 5th row on Grid. Andre’s trusted Japanese teammate continued to keep up a good pace taking P8 on the 3rd lap already, P7 on the 5th lap, not even knowing where to stop!? And soon just as all the cars of the other class (GT500s) entered their 14th lap, No. 0 was running in P6, and in six more laps, P5! At the point of 30 laps done, it returned to the pit where the crew waited to carry out their actions. After speedy work of refueling, tyre change, now the machine went under the belt of Andre Couto.

16gt2-COU1Cruising with a fine stride chasing upward the field again to run in P3 of the GT300 class, and then in that position went for the second scheduled pit-stop of the day. The last stint was to be driven by Tomita again, but shortly following this pit-stop, SC run had to be conducted which unfortunately drew GAINER TANAX GT-R back to P6. In spite of it all however, after normal race was resumed Tomita continued to push and on the 91st lap passed another machine, moved 1 position up to P5. And though no further raise of positions occurred, GAINER TANAX GT-R took the chequer flag in 5th place with 6 points gained.


16gt2-COU4Andre Couto

“It was a very tough race, but at one point we were running in P3, inside the range to get a podium finish. It was very unlucky that SC run came in at that timing and lost our chances. But even with some trouble we had early yesterday, still to have this outcome in the end is good. We could not achieve our target this time, but let’s be sure to avenge in the next round with our team working as one. Please continue to support GAINER TANAX GT-R!”






The SUPER GT Series Round 4 will be held on July 18 – 19th at Sportsland SUGO (in MiyagiPrefecture).

(Round 3 in Autopolis has been officially cancelled due to the earthquake disaster which recently struck the Kumamoto region in Kyushu.)