Super Taikyu League Finale - Motegi
The Super Taikyu League is Japan’s equivalent to Britcar, the Speed Challenge and GrandAm Cup championships, or the German Nürburgring scene. It also has the distinction of being one of the last remaining road racing series where all-wheel driven cars can still join in the fun, and have a chance of winning. dailysportscar’s intrepid Asian correspondent, Tomoko Kobayashi, was at the season finale at Motegi on November 14, and sent us this report.

First, some detail about the kinds of cars that make up a typical Super Taikyu grid: the Group N regulated Super Taikyu League has 5 classes. Class 1 for over-3501cc engined cars; Class 2 for 2001cc to 3500 cc with 4-wheel drive; Class 3 for the same with 2-wheel drive; Class 4 for under-2l cars. And then there is Group N+ for under-2000cc, normally aspirated, two-wheel driven cars with some modifications to engine, suspension, and brakes permitted.

The Class 2 and 3 championships had already been decided at the round before, at Sugo, but the others, especially the overal title, were still open. However, the respective point leaders going into this last race were expected to win.

There is a qualifying session for the drivers, and another one to determine the grid. The 30 minute drivers’ session began at 10 a.m., under blue skies. Apart from the #25 Advan Xenadrine 996 and the overall points leader, the #33 Falken Porsche 996, no one could break through the two minute threshold around Motegi.

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With this task out of the way, each class then had 10 minutes to itself. Most Class 1 runners chose to go out late, some very late: the #1 Porsche of reigning champions, Advan Kondo Endless, had time for just one lap. But this one lap was enough – 1:58.279 meant pole position, and a Super Taikyu track record. With #25 in second and #33 in third, it was a Porsche lock-out at the head of the grid.

Another German car was fastest in Class 3: the FINA Advan BMW M3 with a lap time of 2’03.407 that was good enough for 9th overall. Two rows up the grid, Class 2 had a Japanese car at the top of the list, the #11 Advantage From A MR Mitsubishi Lancer qualified in sixth place. This team already has the class title in the bag. N+ saw the #55 Toyota Altezza (better known in Europe and North America as the Lexus IS200) of ARTA FOS take pole, in 24th overall, and in the slowest of the categories, Class 4, the 30th fastest time (2’08.240) was enough for the main challengers for the the class title, the Advan Verno Tokai Honda Integra. In all, 45 cars qualified for the race.

Qualifying Times
1 - #1 - Class 1 – 1st – ADVAN KONDO Endless Porsche – 1’58.279
2 - #25 – Class 1 – 2nd – ADVAN DG Xenadrine GT3 Porsche – 1’58.556
3 - #33 – Class 1 – 3rd – FALKEN PORSCHE – 1’58.729
4 - #24 – Class 1 – 4th – PCJ ADVAN PORSCHE – 1’58.908
5 - #45 – Class 1 – 5th – Gooseneck ADVAN PORSCHE – 2’00.525
6 - #11 – Class 2 – 1st – Advantage From A MR Lancer – 2’01.623
7 - #2 – Class 2 – 2nd – FUJITSUBO IMPREZA – 2’01.961
8 - #86 – Class 2 – 3rd – hpi racing IMPREZA – 2’02.333
9 - #27 – Class 3 – 1st – FINA ADVAN M3 – 2’03.407
10 - #56 – Class 2 – 4th – Rallyart Pit Kyot Lancer – 2’03.457
11 - #3 – Class 2 – 5th – FINA ENDLESS ADVAN Zama Lancer – 2’03.589
12 - #20 – Class 2 – 6th – RS Ogawa ADVAN Lancer – 2’03.652
13 - #26 – Class 2 – 7th – Endless ADVAN TMC Lancer – 2’03.656
14 - #6 – Class 2 – 8th – FALKEN Lancer MR – 2’04.036
15 - #23 – Class 3 – 2nd – C-WEST ORC ADVAN Z – 2’04.144
16 - #245 – Class 3 – 3rd – mobilecast ADVAN Z – 2’04.629
17 - #7 – Class 3 – 4th – MAKERS hart RX-7 – 2’04.826
18 - #19 – Class 3 – 5th – TC-KOBE MAX Z33 – 2’05.169
19 - #15 – Class 3 – 6th – Racing Sparco Dixel RX-7 – 2’05.176
20 - #30 – Class 2 – 9th – RS Ogawa ADVAN Lancer – 2’05.298
21 - #83 – Class 3 – 7th – bp ADVAN NSX – 2’05.457
22 - #14 – Class 3 – 8th – Endless UEMATSU RX-7 – 2’05.598
23 - #79 – Class 3 – 9th – TAITEC ADVAN NSX – 2’05.557
24 - #55 – Group N+ - 1st – ARTA FOS Altezza – 2’06.557
25 - #88 - Class3 – 10th – ings ADVAN Comcent Z – 2’06.655
26 - #37 – Group N+ - 2nd – Kosei SPIRIT ALTEZZA – 2’06.659
27 - #54 – Group N+ - 3rd – ADVAN Uncle Integra – 2’07.608
28 - #36 – Group N+ - 4th – MAZIORA SPIRIT ALTEZZA – 2’07.811
29 - #5 – Group N+ - 5th – 5ZIGEN ACCORD – 2’07.922
30 - #10 Class 4 – 1st – ADVAN Verno Tokai Integra – 2’08.240
31 - #39 – Class 4 – 2nd – UNITED ADVAN S2000 – 2’08.381
32 - #96 – Class 4 – 3rd – FORWARD Spoon ED S2000 – 2’08.805
33 - #21 – Class 4 – 4th – Kumho Ecsta S2000 – 2’09.181
34 - #18 – Class 4 – 5th – Cosmo Sonic 21 FK Integra – 2’09.388
35 - #69 – Class 4 – 6th – J’S RACING ADVAN S2000 – 2’09.441
36 - #87 – Class 4 – 7th – RISO BP Integra – 2’09.705
37 - #4 – Class 4 – 8th – BRIDE ADVAN Verno Tokai DC5 Integra – 2’10.049
38 - #81 – Class 4 – 9th – REIZ with MAX YH Integra – 2’10.141
39 - #913 – Class 4 – 10th – K-Stadium Hien ADVAN Integra – 2’10.141
40 - #82 – Class 4 – 11th – Delphi ADVAN DC5 Integra – 2’10.312
41 - #67 – Class 4 – 12th – YAMATO ADVAN DC5 Integra – 2’10.413
42 - #29 – Class 4 – 13th – Oberon µ Yomiuri Kotorikousen DC5 Integra – 2’10.533
43 - #73 – Class 4 – 14th – Royal House ADVAN A1 µ DC5 Integra – 2’10.649
44 - #77 – Class 4 – 15th – Fields C-West ADVAN DC5 Integra – 2’10.649
45 - #16 – Class 2 – 10th – Dixel ADVAN Lancer – 2’06.851

DNQs:
46 - #17 – Group N+ - 6th – Keeper with RUNup 2’08.543
47 - #74 – Class 4 – 16th – MSF Kuragonbeya Integra – 2’10.849

Following a rainy Saturday night and Sunday morning, the track was drying out in time for the warm-up, and most teams chose slicks for the 500k, or 105 laps, of racing that lay ahead of them. Among the few to go out on rain tyres was the #33 Falken Porsche, and it seemed the right choice at first, Tetsuya Tanaka passing the #1 and #25 German sister ships on lap 1. But it did not take long before the old order was restored; worse than that, #33 was handed down the order to sixth place, before Tanaka brought the blue and turquoise 996 in for a belated change to slicks on lap 19. For the next five laps, #1 was in charge of the race, until it was caught up in traffic, and JGTC man Nobuteru Taniguchi snuck his way past the other Porsche under braking – a move that went down well with the appreciative audience. The order then remained this way even after #25 had made its first regular stop on lap 41. That’s when #1 was hit with a rare technical problem – the shifter snapped at the base. They would be back on course later, but they had to abandon their championship hopes. This brought #33 up to second, now with Hironori Takeuchi at the wheel, it kept going consistantly. But they were over a lap down on #25, a deficit they could not make up in time. So #25 won the final round of the 2004 Super Taikyu League, and #33 won the overall championship for the second time since 2001.

Behind them the fastest Class 2 car came home in third place overall, a remarkable achievement for Lancer #11. The Class 2 cars showed their speed against the Porsches in the damp opening stages of the race, and also had better fuel mileage, so the #86 hpi racing Subaru Impreza was fourth overall, and the #3 Fina Endless Advan Lancer sixth overall.

Class 3 seemed to be a clean sweep for the #27 BMW M3, but the #23 C-West Nissan Z kept edging closer in the final stages of the race, and forcibly got by the BMW on the inside at 90 Degree Corner, at the end of Downhill Straight, two corners from the finish. The BMW spun, and the Nissan stole the win. #27 did finish the race in second in Class 3, and sixth overall.

In Group N+, the Altezzas dominated the proceedings. #55 led until it retired with engine trouble; so another Altezza took the class win in the shape of the #36 Maziora Spirit car (below). But its Spirit sister car, #37 came home in second place, and thus raked in enough points to secure the class title.

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With Porsche, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Nissan each winning their class, it was Honda’s turn in Class 4. The #4 Bride Advan Tokai Verno Integra seemed unbeatable during the race, but they suddenly ran into differential trouble on lap 73, and had to call it a race. Thus also ended their bid for the championship.

dailysportscar.comAnother team was going for a “safe” race to bring home the championship – the # 96 Forward Spoon Honda S2000, for a team that also appeared in the Nürburgring 24 Hours of 2003 and 2004. In the end, they led their class home because the drivers’ skill is higher than the others - JGTC professional, Daisuke Itoh, and ex-JGTC McLaren driver Hideki Okada, another extremely experienced competitor. Also, their rivals had troubles. So #96 took the race and the championship. Second in class was another S2000, the United Advan #39. Young talent Hironobu Yasuda showed his potential with a series of fastest laps when he chased # 96. Class 4 may not be as glamorous as Class 1 and Group N+ but it was the one to watch at the end of the race.
Tomoko Kobayashi

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Race Result
1 - #25 – Class 1 – 1st – ADVAN Xenadrine GT3 Porsche – 105 laps – 3:36’58.979
2 - #33 – Class 1 – 2nd – FALKEN PORSCHE – 103 laps
3 - #11 – Class 2 – 1st – Advantage From A MR Lancer – 102 laps – 3:37’51.556
4 - #86 – Class 2 – 2nd – hpi racing IMPREZA – 101 laps
5 - #23 – Class 3 – 1st – C-WEST ORC ADVAN Z – 101 laps – 3:37’58.301
6 - #27 – Class 3 – 2nd – FINA ADVAN BMW M3 – 101 laps
7 - #3 – Class 2 – 3rd – FINA ENDLESS ADVAN Zama Lancer – 100 laps
8 - #20 – Class 2 – 4th – RS Ogawa ADVAN Lancer – 99 laps
9 - #88 – Class 3 – 3rd – ings ADVAN Comcent Z – 99 laps
10 - #79 – Class 3 – 4th – TAITEC ADVAN NSX – 99 laps
11 - #36 – Group N+ - 1st – MAZIORA SPIRIT ALTEZZA – 99 laps – 3:38’04.239
12 - #6 – Class 2 – 4th – FALKEN Lancer MR – 99 laps
13 - #37 – Group N+ - 2nd – Kosei SPIRIT ALTEZZA – 98 laps
14 - #7 – Class 3 – 5th – MAKERS hart RX7 – 98 laps
15 - #5 – Group N+ - 3rd – 5ZIGEN ACCORD – 98 laps
16 - #19 – Class 3 – 6th TC-KOBE MAX Z33 – 97 laps
17 - #2 – Class 2 – 6th – FUJITSUBO IMPREZA – 97 laps
18 - #96 – Class 4 – 1st – FORWARD Spoon ED S2000 – 97 laps – 3:39’01.593
19 - #39 – Class 4 – 2nd – UNITED ADVAN S2000 – 96 laps
20 - #82 – Class 4 – 3rd – Delphi ADVAN DC5 Integra – 96 laps
21 - #913 – Class 4 – 4th – K-Stadium Hien ADVAN Integra – 96 laps
22 - #77 – Class 4 – 5th – Fields C-WEST ADVAN DC5 Integra – 96 laps
23 – #81 – Class 4 – 6th – REIZ with MAX YH Integra – 96 laps
24 - #73 – Class 4 – 7th – Royal House ADVAN A1µ DC5 Integra – 95 laps
25 - #21 – Class 4 – 8th – Kumho Ecsta S2000 – 95 laps
26 - #245 – Class 3 – 7th – mobilecast ADVAN Z – 94 laps
27 - #67 – Class 4 – 9th – YAMATO ADVAN DC5 Integra – 94 laps
28 - #15 – Class 3 – 8th – Racing Sparco Dixcel RX-7 – 93 laps
29 - #14 – Class 3 – 9th – Endless UEMATSU RX-7 – 92 laps
30 - #30 – Class 2 – 7th – RS Ogawa ADVAN Lancer – 91 laps
31 - #1 – Class 1 – 3rd – ADVAN KONDO Endless Porsche – 91 laps
32 - #16 – Class 2 – 8th – Dixcel ADVAN Lancer – 89 laps
33 - #45 – Class 1 – 4th – Gooseneck ADVAN Porsche – 82 laps

Non-finshers
#56 – Class 2 – Rallyart Pit Kyoto Lancer – 61 laps
#4 – Class 4 – BRIDE ADVAN Verno Tokai DC5 Integra – 81 laps
#10 – Class 4 – ADVAN Verno Tokai Integra – 73 laps
#55 – Group N+ - ARTA FOS Altezza – 68 laps
#54 – Group N+ - ADVAN Uncle Altezza – 68 laps
#18 – Class 4 – Cosmo Sonic 21 FK Integra – 54 laps
#29 – Class 4 – Oberon µ Yomiuri Tokairikousen DC5 Integra – 47 laps
#24 – Class 1 – PCJ ADVAN Porsche – 39 laps
#69 – Class 4 – J’S RACING ADVAN S2000 – 36 laps
#87 – Class 4 – RISO BP Integra – 25 laps
#83 – Class 3 – bp ADVAN NSX – 20 laps
#26 – Class 2 – Endless ADVAN TMC Lancer – 4 laps

Series ranking:
Class 1

1 - #33 FALKEN PORSCHE – 139 points
2 - #25 ADVAN Xenadrine Porsche – 32 points
3 - #1 – ADVAN KONDO Endless Porsche – 122 points

Class 2
1 – #11 Advantage From A MR Lancer –132 points
2 - #2 FUJITSUBO IMPREZA –96 points
2 - #20 RS Ogawa Lancer – 96 points

Class 3
1 - #245 – mobilecast ADVAN Z - 132 points
2 - #23 C-West ORC ADVAN Z – 116 points
3 - #27 FINA ADVAN BMW M3 – 76 points

Class 4
1 - #96 FORWARD Spoon ED S2000 – 132 points
2 - #10 ADVAN Verno Tokai Integra – 93 points
3 - #73 Royal House ADVAN A1µ DC5 Integra – 60 points

Group N+
1 - #37 Kosei SPIRIT ALTEZZA – 139 points
2 - #36 MAZIORA SPIRIT ALTEZZA – 127 points
3 - #55 ARTA FOS Altezza – 87 points

 

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