Okayama, April 7: The season-opening round at Okayama International Circuit over the weekend was a nail-biter right to the finish as the pole-starting NISSAN GT-R of Masataka Yanagida came under increasing pressure from a pair of Honda HSV-010 GT entries in the closing stages of the two-hour event.
Having maintained position at the top of the timesheets throughout the afternoon, second stint driver Yanagida was eclipsed just five laps from the end when not one, but a pair of Honda HSV-010 GTs slipped by. Tyre degradation, plus a well-placed GT300 machine, helped secure a rousing victory for the RAYBRIG HSV-010, putting to rest the almost certain victory the car lost in the last few hundred metres of the 2012 event. It was the first win for the team since the final race of 2006 at Motegi. Behind them, the KEIHIN HSV-010 with rising star Kodai Tsukakoshi at the wheel, finished on the back bumper of the winning car.
In GT300, a sensational victory for the GAINER Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 in the hands of new recruit Bjorn Wirdheim and teammate Katsuyuki Hiranaka ensured the team have two successive opening-round trophies in their cabinet. Moving up from a third-place starting position, Swede Wirdheim got past the then-2nd placed NISSAN GT-R on lap 10 and never looked back. From there, the Mercedes pairing was in command all the way to the flag. Behind them, the Hatsune Miku GSR BMW Z4 GT3 finished second, with the La Senu Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 rounding out the last step on the podium, for an FIA GT3-spec. lockout.
The next round of the SUPER GT series takes place at Fuji Speedway on April 28 and 29 (Sunday and Monday, during the Golden Week holidays).