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Super GT Suzuka II

Tsuchiya Supra upgraded during Suzuka testing crash rebuild

Tsuchiya Engineering’s Toyota GR Supra GT300 is sporting fresh upgrades upon its return to SUPER GT at Suzuka this weekend after the team’s crash in testing last month.

#25 HOPPY Schatz GR Supra

The #25 Hoppy-sponsored Supra was forced to skip the fourth round of the season at Fuji earlier this month as the car couldn’t be repaired in time following a heavy crash for Seita Nonaka at 130R in a Yokohama tyre test held in late July.

But now Takeshi Tsuchiya’s eponymous team is ready to resume battle at Suzuka, with Nonaka and teammate Takamitsu Matsui eager to score their first points of the season.

As the front of the car had been heavily damaged in the testing crash, fresh bodywork had to be prepared, and a new engine had to be fitted as the old unit was found to have damage.

Chief engineer Ryunosuke Kino revealed that implementing certain upgrades was a necessity, as no blueprint existed for the handmade design that would have allowed the car to be reproduced in exactly its original specification.

The result is a Supra that looks more refined and “beautiful” than the original version.

“Rather than changing things because we wanted to, it’s more that we can’t actually go back to what we had before even if we wanted,” Kino told Motorsport.com’s Japanese edition. 

“The car itself could only be made from the parts that we already had in our possession, including some that had been recycled from old parts, so once those had been damaged, because there are no blueprints, we could no longer make the car exactly as it was before. 

“Given that situation, we rebuilt the car making use of what we have learned so far this season and refining some of the parts that didn’t look right. It’s not like we’ve overhauled everything, but it is definitely an upgrade, and we’ve increased the quality.

“The car is still handmade, but before it was easier to tell that, and now we’ve made it more ‘beautiful’.”

Before (Okayama Rd. 1) and after (Suzuka Rd. 5):

 

 

Tsuchiya has struggled to make an impression in the three races it has contested with its Supra, with Nonaka and Matsui taking a best finish of 11th in the shortened May Fuji race.

Saturday morning’s free practice session at Suzuka marked the first track running for the revised car, which was 23rd-fastest.

Kino is hoping that with no success ballast on board and at a track that tends to favour the lighter JAF GT300 cars, a first points finish of 2022 could be within reach at Suzuka.

“We weren’t able to perform well in the opening three rounds, but in the test before we crashed we were able to start showing some performance,” he said. “We’re not at the top level yet, but the potential is there and it feels like there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

“In that sense, we want to pick up where we left off [in the test] and score points here at Suzuka. Suzuka, Sugo and Autopolis are all good cars for JAF [GT300] cars, so we’re aiming for a strong result like a podium if possible.”

  • Stream every qualifying session and race of the 2022 SUPER GT season only on Motorsport.tv.

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