From Japan To Le Mans?
Two "GT" cars are only seen racing in Japan so far, the
Vemac and the Garaiya could ultimately be Le Mans contenders, because
both constructors would like to come to Le Mans…. but will
they be able to do it? asks Le Mans Racing magazine, in
its latest issue.
by Tokyo R&D Co, the Vemac has run in the GT-300 class of the
JGTC since 2002, taking its class several times. The race version
is the RD320R, powered by a Honda V6 engine. Some road cars have
been sold. For 2004, the goal of Tokyo R&D is to introduce a
new version of the Vemac, the RD350R, in the GT-500 class. The chassis
(tubular with carbon panels), the brakes, the suspension and the
gearbox are the same as on the RD320R, but the Honda V6 is replaced
by a Zytek V8. Tokyo R&D's boss, Shinji Motojima, wants to enter
the Vemac in the 24 hours of Le Mans, but the choice of class has
not been decided…..
There is a strong
will to enter this car, but is the Vemac in agreement with the ACO
rules? Have enough road cars been built? Is the car homologated
in different continents?
is a similar dilemma for another Japanese car, the Garaiya. Designed
by Hiroto Kaneso, the Garaiya was launched in 2001 by the Autobacs
Sportscar Laboratory (ASL). Aguri Suzuki, ASL director and ARTA
team-manager and former F1 driver, would like to enter this car
at Le Mans. Kaneso is initially thinking of the GTS Class as a ‘home’
for design, and visited Le Mans last June with two members of ARTA
Can these two cars really enter in a race under ACO regulations?
Time will tell.
More news from Japan : Auto-Hebdo reports this week that the Frenchman
Jérémie Dufour will be back this year with the Toyota
Team SARD, for whom he drove in 2001 and 2002. His teamate will
be Andre Couto.