JGTC USA – Race Report
Not Richard Lyons, But Kaneishi and Comas
© Gary Horrocks
All in all, it was an
impressive display. A good sized crowd - the promoters claimed 30,000
- was on hand to (we thought) witness a Honda sweep of the GT500
and GT300 classes. Finishing first across the line was the PIAA
Honda NSX of Tsugio Matsuda and Andre Lotterer, ‘winning’
by a few seconds over the G’Zox/SSR/Hasemi Nissan 350 Z of
Toshihiro Kaneishi / Erik Comas. Winning GT300 was the M-Tec NSX
of Tetsuya Yamano, Hiroyuki Yagi and Haruki Kurosawa.
No. 3 G’Zox/SSR/Hasemi Nissan 350Z Turbo of Kaneishi and Comas
was awarded the victory, the provisional winners being penalized
60 seconds for a pit stop infraction.
winners Tsugio Matsuda and Andre Lotterer crossed the finish
line 1.156 seconds ahead of the Kaneishi/Comas car, but were
penalized 60 seconds for not completing their required pit stops
(two) after lap 15. Cars were required to make two fuel stops
the 87-lap, 200.1-mile race, but not before the completion of lap
15. The PIAA Honda NSX Turbo of Lotterer pitted under caution
lap 15, but not after its completion, thus drawing the penalty.
Three other cars received a similar penalty.
Matsuda and Lotterer
‘won’ despite hitting the tire chicane early in the
race and then going wide. The pole winning Nissan of Satoshi Motoyama
and Richard Lyons had already been eliminated with rear suspension
damage on the same lap, the eleventh, after receiving a bump from
behind - and the entire front of the field was jumbled.
had taken the lead at the start, in the Nissan that Lyons had been
quickest in all meeting so far. For 11 laps, Motoyama led a train
of five cars, but then came one incident on that lap, to eliminate
the Championship-winning car.
On the same lap, Lotterer, who was slicing through the field after
a first lap spin, caught the turn one chicane tire wall, moving
it enough to necessitate a full course caution from laps 13 through
16. With the loss of the Motoyama car, Benoit Treluyer took over
the point in his No. 12 Calsonic/Impul Nissan 350Z Turbo, shared
with Yuji Ide, until a lap 23 pit stop, thus handing the lead to
Masami Kageyama in the No. 22 Motul/Pitwork Nissan 350Z Turbo, shared
with Michael Krumm.
Lotterer set a string of fastest laps and caught Kageyama in the
No. 22 Nissan by lap 29, passing for the lead on lap 32. Just after
being passed, Kageyama spun and collected the turn one chicane tires
On lap 50, Lotterer pitted his NSX and handed over to teammate Tsugio
Matsuda, relinquishing the lead to Comas briefly before he pitted
to hand off to teammate Toshihiro Kaneishi on lap 57. With that
stop, Matsuda assumed the lead again for the PIAA NSX, just ahead
No. 8 ARTA Honda NSX Turbo of Katsutomo Kaneishi and Daisuke
Ito brought out the second caution when it struck water barrels
in the final corner on lap 69. Following the green on lap 74, Matsuda
pulled out to a 7.2-second lead over Kaneishi. The Nissan whittled
down the lead over the final 13 laps, but crossed the finish line
1.156 seconds short of the Honda at the end of the event.
Yamano and Kurosawa shared the No. 16 M-Tec Honda NSX to win the
GT300 class, despite also receiving a 60-second penalty.
“I took over the car after Haruki [Kurosawa] and, for me,
I think it was a good race and I drove fairly easy,” said
Yamano. “I just had to take over and finish the race.
“It means a lot that after everyone’s efforts we were
able to come together for our first race here in California,”
Yamano added. “Having the people in the paddock and the parking
lots was another good way to introduce [the series] to the public.
In that way I think this event was very successful.”
Masataka Yanagida and Naofumi Omoto shared the second-place Nissan
350Z in GT300, followed by the Subaru Impreza of Katso Kobayashi
and Tatsuya Tanigawa.
Overall then, the on track action was of a high caliber, and to
the credits of all of the drivers, the tire chicane held up rather
well. Much better that was expected anyway.
At this point, I’ll
get on my soapbox. I was not expecting as large a crowd as was present.
Many series would be quite happy – no delighted - with the
crowd that was here for the race. Grandstands were packed when the
race started, and gradually thinned, but still, they were decently
packed. This series definitely has something going for it. The enthusiastic
crowd was into the action and much of that can be attributed to
the fact that the current generation of gear-heads are into the
import scene, and the cars on track were either cars that they owned
or dream to own.
The FIA might have made
a wise move to look to an association with the JGTC. It does not
appear that the regulation changes to the two series should be too
drastic. If that is so, some other series should look out. Even
though this race was a one off and a relatively short event, I had
a sort of a Sebring-type of feeling: very much like Sebring, just
minus the camping scene.
The talk here
was that while this was the first time for the Series to be here
in the States, it will not be the last. Look out world, the Japanese
Almost all the
car numbers were wrong on the official result: we think these are
1. (3), GT500, Toshihiro Kaneishi/Erik Comas, Nissan 350Z
2. (32), GT500, Tsugio Matsuda/Andre Lotterer, Honda NSX Turbo,
3. (35), GT500, Naoki Hattori/Shigekazu Wakisaka, Toyota Supra,
4. (12), GT500, Benoit Treluyer/Yuji Ide, Nissan 350Z Turbo, 87,
5. (37), GT500, James Courtney/Tatsuya Kataoka, Toyota Supra, 86,
6. (16), GT300, Tetsuya Yamano/Haruki Kurosawa, Honda NSX,
84, -3 laps.
7. (100), GT500, Shinji Nakano/Hiroki Katoh/Bruce Jouanny, NSX,
83, -4 laps.
8. (81), GT300, Masataka Yanagida/Naofumi Omoto, Nissan 350Z Turbo,
81, -6 laps.
9. (77), GT300, Katsuo Kobayashi/Tatsuya Tanigawa, Subaru Impreza,
10. (63), GT300, OSAMU/Takaya Tsubobayashi, RD 320R, 81, -25.515.
11. (19), GT300, Takayuki Aoki/Nobuteru Taniguchi/Manabu Orido,
Toyota Celica, 79, -8 laps.
12. (6), GT300, Geoff Escalette/Blake Russer, Porsche 911, 79, -1:54.612.
13. (80), GT300, Mitsuhiro Kinoshita/Kazuki Hoshino, Nissan 350Z,
78, -9 laps.
14. (2), GT300, Kazuho Takahashi/Akira Watanabe/Hiroki Yoshimoto,
Honda NSX, 78, -8.595.
15. (26), GT300, Eiji Yamada/Patric Vanschoote, Dodge Viper, 73,
16. (8), GT500, Katsutomo Kaneishi/Daisuke Ito, Honda NSX, 65, Crash.
17. (5), GT300, Tetsuji Tamanaka/Go Mifune, RD 320R, 59, Mech.
18. (22), GT500, Masami Kageyama/Michael Krumm, Nissan 350Z Turbo,
19. (7), GT300, Shinichi Yamaji/Hiroyuki Iiri, Mazda RX-7, 52, Crash.
20. (1), GT500, Satoshi Motoyama/Richard Lyons, Nissan 350Z Turbo,
21. (18), GT500, Ryo Michigami/Sebastien Philippe, Honda NSX Turbo,
22. (43), GT300, Morio Nitta/Shinichi Takagi, Garaiya, 9, Mech.
Note: Matsuda/Lotterer, Hattori/Wakisaka and Yamano/Kurosawa all
penalized 60 seconds for not completing two fuel stops after lap
Time of race: 2 hours, 13 minutes, 51.529 seconds.
Average speed: 89.691 mph
Margin of victory: 58.844 seconds (after 60-second penalty)
Lap leaders: Laps 1-11, #1 Satoshi Motoyama; laps 12-21, #12 Benoit
Treyuler; laps 22-31, #22 Masami Kageyama; laps 32-50, #32 Tsugio
Matsuda; laps 51-57, #3 Toshihiro Kaneishi
Fastest race lap: #12 Benoit Treluyer, 1:24.287 (98.235 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #1 Richard Lyons, 1:23.124 (99.610 mph)
Cautions: Two for eight laps