Honda Super GT car hit with weight penalty
Honda's NSX-GT has been slapped with a 10kg weight penalty ahead of the Sugo round of the Super GT series.
The NSX-GT has the unique distinction of being the only mid-engined car on the GT500 grid, which means organisers have to take special measures to ensure equal performance with the Nissan GT-R and Lexus LC500, both of which have the conventional front-engined layout.
With Honda scoring two wins in the first five races of the season and challenging for the championship, the minimum weight of the NSX-GT has been increased to 1044kg for Sugo.
This is the first time Super GT organisers have made changes outside the BoP rules since the 2017 Autopolis round, although on that occasion Honda was handed a 15kg weight break.
The increase in weight could potentially hurt the title bid of former Formula 1 driver Jenson Button, who sits joint-second in the championship and just seven points adrift of TOM’S Lexus pair Nick Cassidy and Ryo Hirakawa.
Button and Team Kunimitsu stablemate Naoki Yamamoto have scored podiums in Okayama and Suzuka so far and finished fifth last time out at Fuji despite heavy ballast on their car.
They will carry a BoP-derived weight penalty equivalent to 80kg at the next round in Sugo, but success ballast will be halved at Autopolis before being removed altogether for the Motegi finale.
Another team that could lose out from the weight increase is Real Racing, which won with its driver pairing of Koudai Tsukakoshi and Takashi Kogure in the season opener and currently sits fourth in the championship.
Such changes may also hand a clear advantage to Nissan, which dominated the last race before unrelated issues for its two leading cars denied it a likely win.
While Honda and Lexus introduced its mid-season engine upgrade at Motegi, Nissan plans to unleash its new engine at Sugo, which could lead to a late 2017-like title charge from the Yokohama-based marque.
Cassidy fears Nissan domination in Super GT title run-in
Sugo Super GT: Button, Yamamoto clinch pole