More exciting race!
Super Formula organizer JRP reveals 2 spec tyre regulation for next 2 race.
2017 regular spec tyre is called medium, additional soft compound spec called soft tyre.
This try continue to last year’s Rd.4 Motegi. But 2016 spec soft tyre wasn’t as much work as expected.
So official tyre supplier Yokohama Tyre introduce update version Rd.4 Motegi and comeback after the huge earthquake Rd.5 Autopolis.
2017 spec soft tyre target more degradation and more grip.
New spec soft tyre faster than 2016 spec around 0.5~0.8 sec at SUGO engine makes testing in June. And tyre range will be around 150km.
Regular medium tyre is not big degradation and no need change tyre 1 race.
In Rd.4 and Rd.5, all driver must use 2 spec tyre in the each race.
At Autopolis international circuit, JRP held Super Formula engine makes testing 18/19 July. This testing’s main task is final check of 2017 spec soft tyre.
As usual, both Toyota and Honda bringing each of test car.
ITOCHU ENEX Team IMPUL operate Toyota test car #00, Yuhi Sekiguchi and Jan Mardenborogh.
Team Mugen oparate Honda test car #05, Naoki Yamamoto and Pierre Gasly.
Gasly has coming Autopolis after the debut Formula E race at NY.
Unfortunately, rain fall 2 days testing. But in Day2 afternoon, they could check tyre.
Hard and hot race
Super Formula 2017 season R.3 is held at Fuji Speed Way.
Early summer coming in Fuji and so hot weekend.
2016 series champion Yuji Kunimoto (P.MU Cermo.inging) takes first career pole position. His team mate Hiroaki Ishiura is 2nd. So P.MU Cermo・Inging lines one-two. 3rd is Yuhi Sekiguchi (ITOCHU ENEX Team IMPUL).
・Race (55 laps)
So hot condition continue Air temp 32℃, road temp 44℃ for start race.
In start, Pole sitter Yuji Kunimoto (P.MU Cermo・Inging) makes hole shot. But 2nd start Hiroaki Ishiura (P.MU Cermo・Inging) too much wheel spin and down to 4th.
3rd start Yuhi Sekiguchi (ITOCHU ENEX Team IMPUL) and Kazuki Nakajima (Vantelin Team TOM’s) pass Ishiua.
Kunimoto push and extend lead from 2nd Sekiguchi.
Lap9, Andre Lotterer (Vantelin Team TOM’s) is first man to enter the pit. And only refuel. Lap13, his team mate Kazuki Nakajima (Vantelin Team TOM’s) to enter the pit and same menu. Next man is Yuhi Sekiguchi (ITOCHU ENEX Team IMPUL) reacted to TOM’s guys action. Sekiguchi managed to hold his position from TOM’s guys.
So good situation for Hiroaki Ishiura (P.MU/Cermo・Inging). 2 TOM’s and Sekiguchi were done to pit, it means clean air for Ishiura.
His behind top Honda man Naoki Yamamoto (Team Mugen) shows good pace, but unfortunately accident for Yamamoto. His tyre puncture rear left at home straight and retire.
And same puncture for 4th running top rookie Kenta Yamashita (Kondo Racing).
Lap31, race leader Yuji Kunimoto into the pit and full service (4 tyre change+refule).
But huge moment for leader. Kunimoto return to pit due to suspension failure. Cermo・Inging try to fix, but not complete recovery, so disappointment retire.
After the this happening, 2nd position Felix Rosenqvist (SUNOCO Team LeMans) hard push and into the pit lap 36, rear 2 tyre change+refuel.
Rosenqvist return to course 2nd position.
Lap 38 top man Hiroaki Ishiura into the pit and done full service.
Final pit enter Kamui Kobayashi (KCMG). But Kobayashi suffered problem and engine stall.
Big battle for 4th position. Yuhi Sekiguchi struggle the pace, and Red Bull man Pierre Gasly (Team Mugen) push hard with new 4 tyre.
Both Sekiguchi and Gasly shows great battle. At final lap, Sekiguchi hold his position closed finish only 0.03 sec.
Finally 2015 champion Hiroaki Ishiura (P.MU Cermo・Inging) wins first time 2017 season. Great first ever Super Formula podium for super rookie Felix Rosenqvist (SUNOCO Team LeMans). In addition Rosenqvist sets fastest lap in this race.
3rd is legend Andre Lotterer (Vantelin Team TOM’s) jump up 12th to 3rd.
Yuhi Sekiguchi (ITOCHU ENEX Team IMPUL) is 4th, 5th is top of Honda guys Pierre Gasly (Team Mugen),.
・Race 2 qualifying (Q1 and Q2)
Day2 for Rd.2 Okayama is 2 session QF and 50 laps race.
In 20min Q1, first 10min they try to check the car balance. Final 7min, all driver sets new tyre and into track. Kamui Kobayashi (KCMG) up to 1st position. And many driver try to improve time. At that timing, Nick Cassidy (Kondo Racing) crashed out at turn 2. So red flag shows last 1min.
Race director sets 2min 30sec for remaining time.
After the red flag, difficult only 1 lap battle, but Lotterer, Sekiguchi, Izawa jump up from knock out zone to Q2.
Defending champion Yuji Kunimoto (P.MU/Cermo・Inging) and 3rd in Rd.1 Naoki Yamamoto (Team Mugen) knock out.
In Q2, into track last 7min, but they slowly tire warm up. So last 3min for last attack.
2017 Japanese F3 champ Kenta Yamashita (Kondo Racing) sets 1:14.104 and goes 1st. But Okayama mister Hiroaki Ishiura (P.MU/Cermo・Inging) beat Yamashita and gets pole position. 2nd is impressive driver for Kenta Yamashita (Kondo Racing).
3rd is Yuhi Sekiguchi (ITOCHU ENEX Team IMPUL).
Race 2 qualifying results
Race 2 is 50laps and they need to change 4 tyre in this race.
Very hot condition, air temp 27℃, road temp 47℃.
In start, pole sitter Hiroaki Ishiura makes hole shot and keep 1st. And Kenta Yamashita hold 2nd position.
After the lap1, 8 drivers into pit and change tyre.
Surprised to see, running 3rd in opening lap Yuhi Sekiguchi (ITOCHU ENEX Team IMPUL) finished pit duty.
Time competition began between the group that pitted and guys stayed out.
Sekiguchi pushed hard and keep running high pace. So Ishiura expand the gap behind 2nd Yamashita.
But Sekiguchi shows better pace than Ishiura.
In mid group, 2 time Macau GP winner Felix Rosenqvist (SUNOCO Team LeMans) shine and shows as same pace as top group.
Lap31 Yamashita into the pit, Lap34, race leader Hiroaki Ishiura into pit. In this timing Sekiguchi pass to Ishiura. And big gap about 9sec.
But accident for Takuya Izawa (Docomo Team Dandelion). Izawa crashed out at turn 2. So SC introduce.In this timing Rosenqvist into pit and return to track with 4th.
Last 8 laps, restart the race.
With fresh tyre, Ishiura try to catch up Sekiguchi, same situation in battle for 3rd Lotterer and Rosenqvist.
But they can’t overtaking both guys, so Yuhi Sekiguchi (ITOCHU ENEX Team IMPUL) wins first time 2017 season. 2nd is Hiroaki Ishiura (P.MU/Cermo・Inging).
Race 1 winner Andre Lotterer (Vantelin Team TOM’s) hold P3.
Biggest mover and shows his talent Felix Rosenqvist (SUNOCO Team LeMans) finish 4th.
Continue gets point for Kamui Kobayashi (KCMG) is 5th, frustrating race for Kenta Yamashita (Kondo Racing) 2nd to 6th.
Race 2 results
German Samurai comeback!
Super Formula 2017 Rd.2 Okayama coming this weekend.
Rd.2 held 2 race format. Race 1 in Saturday, Race 2 in Sunday.
・Race 1 qualifying (20 min 1 sesion)
Race 1 qualifying is only 1 session of 20min. Almost driver sets used tyre for first run.
After the first attack, Okayama mister Hiroaki Ishiura (P.MU/Cermo・Inging) sets top time. Last 6 min, they goes to last attack.
But 19 cars on narrow track, so many traffic. In such situation, IMPUL ace Yuhi Sekiguchi (ITOCHU ENEX Team IMPUL) gets pole position o.5min off to 2nd position Andre Lotterer (Vantelin Team TOM’s).
Great 3rd for rookie Nick Cassidy (Kondo Racing).
Race 1 Qualiyfing results
After the qualifying, race 1 is only 30laps short sprint.
So they unnecessary pit duty.
In start, Andre Lotterer (Vantelin Team TOM’s) makes hole shot from 2nd grid. Yuhi Sekiguchi (ITOCHU ENEX Team IMPUL) drop 2nd position.
3rd start Nick Cassidy (Kondo Racing) keep his position.
Accident for PIerre Gasly (Team Mugen) and Takashi Kogure (B-MAX Racing). Gasly broken front wing, Kogure suffered flat tyre.
Okayama international circuit is too difficult to overtaking.
So no more big position change.
Finally WEC ace Andre Lotterer (Vantelin Team TOM’s) wins Race 1. It is 24th win for Lotterer in Japanese top formula career. Yuhi Sekiguchi (ITOCHU ENEX Team IMPUL) is 2nd. First time podium finish for Nick Cassidy (Kondo Racing).
Cassidy is rookie podium finisher in 2017 lineup.
Kamui Kobayashi (KCMG) finish 4th. It is best results for KCMG team in Japanese top formula. 5th for Naoki Yamamoto (Team Mugen).
6th and 7th both F3 graduate rookies Jan Mardenborough (ITOCHU ENEX Team IMPUL) and Kenta Yamashita (Kondo Racing).
Race 1 results
Come back TOM’s style
After great qualifying, coming very sunny race day.
Race format is here
・Race distance 203km
・Need to 1 pit stop (change at least 1 tyre)
In start, pole sitter Kazuki Nakajima (Vantelin Team TOM’s) makes hole shot! Position change for 2nd, Naoki Yamamoto (Team Mugen) up to 2nd passed Yuji Kunimoto (P.MU Cermo/Inging).
Many driver into pit before end lap1, because this race is not too long distance.
So into first lap is mainstream strategy for not top group.
7th start Andre Lotterer (Vantelin Team TOM’s) into pit and refuel plus change front right tyre.
Next lap 4th position Hiroaki Ishiura (P.MU Cermo/Inging), Pierre Gasly (Team Mugen), etc. Pit strategy separate between finish pit duty end up to lap4 and other.
In lap 13, Kamui Kobayashi (KCMG) into pit and done fuel and rear 2 tyre change). Return to track ahead Pierre Gasly. But Kobayashi still cold tyre, so can’t hold position.
But Kobayashi passed Gasly lap 20 at Hitachi Automotive chicane.
Main rival for Kobayashi, Takuya Izawa (DOCOMO Team Dandelion) into pit next lap and protect to position against Kobayashi.
Running 3rd, Koudai Tsukakoshi (Real Racing) into pit and little long refuel and 4 tyre change. So down to position behind Andre Lotterer.
After that, non pit man Kazuya Oshima (SUNOCO Team LeMans) spun out and engine stop at spoon curve. Oshima doesn’t move again, so SC introduce.
In this time, top 2 driver Kazuki Nakajima and Naoki Yamamoto did a pit duty same 2 tyre change and refuel.
Restart of the race last 10 lap, Kazuki hold position and stay cool.
Many battle mid field, put on new tyre Tsukakoshi push hard and try to pass Lotterer.
But Lotterer block and hold 5th.
And super rookies battle for 10th, after difficult qualifying Felix Rosenqvist (SUNOCO Team LeMans) shows good pace and try to catch up Pierre Gasly.
Behind that same rookie Jan Mardenborough (ITOCHU ENEX Team IMPUL) crashed at turn 1.
Finally, top runner Kazuki Nakajima (Vantelin Team TOM’s) dominate wins at NGK Suzuka 2&4 race! It wins since 2015 Rd.5 Autopolis for Kazuki.
And return to winning spot for Team TOM’s since 2015 final round of JAF GP.
2nd is Honda ace Naoki Yamamoto (Team Mugen), 3rd is defending champion Yuji Kunimoto (P.MU Cermo/Inging).
4th is Hiroaki Ishiura (P.MU Cermo/Inging), 5th is Andre Lotterer (Vantelin Team TOM’s). In this results, champion experienced person occupies 1st to 5th place.
Shows large presence despite reduce 1 car entry for 6th and fastest lap Koudai Tsukakoshi (Real Racing).
Difficult debut for rookies, top of rookie is 10th Pierre Gasly (Team Mugen). Felix Rosenqvist (SUNOCO Team LeMans) is 11th.
Kenta Yamashita (Kondo Racing) is 14th, Nick Cassidy (Kondo Racing) is 17th. Crashed turn 1 Jan Mardenborough (ITOCHU ENEX Team IMPUL) 18th.
Official results and report
More fast more super
2017 Super Formula season has started at Suzuka circuit.
Many great rookies and world wide driver lineup this year. Continue high level for championship.
・Qualifying 1 (20 min)
Many driver sets used tyre for first run. Final 7 min, all driver sets new set of tyre.
But accident for rookie, Felix Rosenqvist (SUNOCO Team LeMans) crashed out at turn 1. But session almost finished and no red flag shows.
Q1 knock out member, 15th Felix Rosenqvist, 16th Tomoki Nojiri, 17th Kenta Yamashita, trouble for 18th Kamui Kobayashi, 19th new team debut Takashi Kogure.
・Qualifying 2 (7 min)
Only 1 lap attack for Q2.
Last 3 min, almost driver battle between 1:36 sec around. Finally defending champion Yuji Kunimoto (P.MU Cermo/Inging) goes top with 1:36.083.
Q2 knock out member, 9th Daisuke Nakajima, 10th Takuya Izawa, 11th Narain Karthikeyan, 12th rookie Jan Mardenborough, 13th Kazuya Oshima, 14th Nick Cassidy.
・Qualifying 3 (7 min)
For Q3 2-TOM’s, 2-Cermo/Inging, 2-Mugen, and sole Real and IMPUL cars start.
Only man to into Q3, Pierre Gasly (Team Mugen) is first time score on Q3. But Gasly makes little mistake and finish 8th.
Yuji Kunimoto (P.MU Cermo/inging) into 1:35sec, but Kazuki Nakajima (Vantelin Team TOM’s) beat Kunimoto’s time.
Finally no more update, so Kazuki Nakajima takes 5th career pole position! And record breaking time 1:35.907. It is first time 1:35 sec around on Japanese top formula history.
2nd is defending champion Yuji Kunimoto, 3rd is top of Honda man Naoki Yamamoto (Team Mugen), 4th is Hiroaki Ishiura (P.MU Cermo/Inging).
From 1st place to 4th place, only gap 0.1 sec!
Best rookie is 8th Pierre Gasly (Team Mugen), 2nd is Jan Mardenborough (ITOCHU ENEX Team IMPUL) 12th.
Pole position onboard lap
Official results and report
It’s an interesting experiment.
Japanese Telecommunications carrier NTT group and Dandelion Racing has announces start new project today.
NTT DOCOMO, NTT DATE, NTT and Dandelion Racing are starts joint demonstration experiment to measure biological information of driver.
This project uses new bio-electrode conductive fiber hitoe®.
Driver wears hitoe based underwear, and measure biological information such as driver’s electrocardiogram waveform, heart rate, upper arm and chest EMG with that wear.
In addition, Analyze data such as speed, acceleration, engine speed, brake pressure etc. measured by the in-vehicle sensor, and onboard camera.
By gathering these information, will verify the relationship between the physical condition of the driver driving in the extreme state and the driving situation and use it for management of the driver and examination of the training menu etc.
Same experiment has benn done in America. NTT DATE and Chip Ganassi Racing.
DOCOMO and Dandelion are long partner since 1993 in Formula 3, and 18 years in Japanese top formula.
And NTT and DOCOMO has been experimenting, using formula car.
For example, Incorporate mobile phone system into machine and it use team radio. And test secure stable communication in the speed range of the racing car.
Looks like TOM’s year ?
2017 final off season testing held at Fuji.
5 drivers miss this testing due to schedule crash between WEC Prologue and Formula E. Change driver list.
So cold condition in Fuji air temp 9℃/ road temp 10℃.
They shows fastest pace in early of session. Sub for Andre Lotterer, J.P.Oliveira (Vantelin Team TOM’s) into first 1:22sec first 40 min.
After that Tomoki Nojiri (Docomo Team Dandelion) stop at hairpin. And shows red flag.
Session restart after the red flag, Pierre Gasly (Team Mugen) marks continuous lap 1:22sec.
But J.P.Oliveira beat Gasly’s time and sets fastest time 1:22.122.
Three minutes later Narain Karthikeyan (TCS Nakajima Racing) spun out at TGR corner. From around here strong rain fall.
So they can’t improved the time and ended morring session.
In afternoon session, condition turns full wet.
But lots of water on the circuit. So they were stay in the pit garage.
Final 30min, condition turns well and many driver start running.
Yuhi Sekiguchi (ITOCHU ENEX Team IMPUL) sets top time 1:48.988. Last 1min, Naoki Yamamoto (Team Mugen) crashed out at Toyopet 100R.
This crash caused the session to end.
Unbelievable fall snow at Fuji Speed Way Day1 night. To be remembered recently Super GT Fuji testing. So morring session cancelled.
In afternoon, condition turns well and able to running.
So organizer decided to extend session time.
Early of session, still wet patches are mixed difficult condition. Koudai Tsukakoshi (Real Racing) was first man to set slick tyre. But Tsukakoshi stop at hairpin due to sensor problem. It cause red flag.
After 35 minutes, many driver try to sets slick tyre.
Mid of session, light rain falls. But not big damage for road condition.
Final 30min, they try to sets new tyre for qualifying simulation.
Many driver improves time.
J.P.Oliveira (Vantelin Team TOM’s) goes to 1:21sec first time. But Toyota Gazoo Racing reserve driver Ryo Hirakawa (Vantelin Team TOM’s) sets 1:21.628 and beat Oliveira’s time.
Finally Hirakawa is fastest man 2 days Fuji testing. Hirakawa is replacement to Kazuki Nakaijma. He shows fantastic performance and his talent.
2nd is J.P.Oliveira (Vantelin Team TOM’s),
3rd is continue fastest in Honda Pierre Gasly (Team Mugen). 4th is same rookie Jan Mardenborough (ITOCHU ENEX Team IMPUL).
5th is come back top group Naoki Yamamoto (Team Mugen).
Fastest driver/team director Yuji Tachikawa (P.MU Cermo/Inging) ended 16th. And P.MU Cermo/Inging bringing testing only black livery.
All off season testing is done. Opening round kick off NGK 2&4 race will April 22-23 Suzuka circuit.
Super Formula 2nd off season testing will held at Fuji this weekend.
This testing will be final chance to run before opening round of Suzuka. But some driver miss to this testing due to schedule crash with WEC prologue and Formula E Mexico.
Missing person and replacement driver
・Andre Lotterer (#36/ Vantelin Team TOM’s) WEC prologue (Porsche LMP1 Team)
→J.P.Oliveira (Super GT GT500 IMPUL)
・Kazuki Nakajima (#37/ Vantelin Team TOM’s) WEC prologue (Toyota Gazoo Racing)
→James Rossiter (Super GT GT500 TOM’s driver)/ Ryo Hirakawa (Super GT GT500 and ELMS)
・Kamui Kobayashi (#18/ KCMG) WEC prologue (Toyota Gazoo Racing)
→Yuichi Nakayama (Super GT GT300 Lexus, 2016 KCMG driver)
・Yuji Kunimoto (#1/ P.MU Cermo/Inging) WEC prologue (Toyota Gazoo Racing)
→Yuji Tachikawa (Super GT GT500 Cermo/ Team director of P.MU Cermo/Inging)
・Felix Rosenqvist (#7 SUNOCO Team LeMans) Formula E Mexico (Mahindra Racing)
→Kouhei Hirate (2016 Super GT GT500 champion)
2010 champion J.P.Oliveira leave Team IMPUL this year, and won’t contests Super Formula this year. But one off return with former rival team TOM’s.
It is like a surprised combination.
Both Super GT TOM’s regular James Rossiter and Ryo Hirakawa to share Kazuki Nakajima’s #37 Vantelin sponsored TOM’s car.
2016 champion Yuji Kunimoto joins Toyota Gazoo Racing for WEC 2 race, and going to WEC prologue. Then surprised return for Super GT GT500 top runner and team director of P.MU Cermo/Inging Yuji Tachikawa. Seat fit for Tachikawa.
Tachikawa was driven Toyota’s owns SF14 2015. However, it has been official testing session since 2009.
2016 Super GT GT500 champion Kouhei Hirate return to Super Formula since 2013.
Hirate replace to rookie man Felix Rosenqvist. Seat fit for Hirate at Team LeMans factory.
Former KCMG regular Yuichi Nakayama continue sub to Kamui Kobayashi.
Day1 March 31st Morning=10:00~12:00 Afternoon=14:00~16:00
Day2 April 1st Morning=9:00~11:00 Afternon=13:00~15:00
Great step for Yuji!
Toyota Gazoo Racing has announced driver lineup for 3rd TS050.
1st dirver is already revealed Stephane Sarazin. Another 2 driver has not been revealed so far.
Then Toyota nominates Nicolas Lapierre and Yuji Kunimoto for 3rd of TS050 driver.
Nicolas Lapierre return for Toyota Gazoo Racing since 2014. After leaving Toyota, Lapierre shows strong performance at LMP2 field.
Lapierre class wins at Le Mans 2 consecutive years 2015 and 2016. And takes world title of WEC LMP2 champion last year.
Big news for Japanese fan. 2016 Super Formula champion Yuji Kunimoto gets first time LMP1 drive. Kunimoto shows great speed and stability at Toyota Gazoo Racing’s driver audition.
2016 is impressive year for Kunimoto. In Super Formula, beat some champion experienced and WEC drivers Lotterer and Nakajima, F1 debut Stoffel Vandoorne.
In Super GT, gives first time GT500 for Weds Sport Bandoh.
Kunimoto miss Super Formula testing at Fuji this weekend due to going WEC prologue. And schedule crash WEC Rd,2 Spa and Super GT Rd.2 Fuji.
So 2016 Japanese F3 champion Kenta Yamashita will replace to Kunimoto that race.
Lapierre and Kunimoto are contests Rd.2 Spa and Rd.3 LeMans 24h.