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Opening Race Victory Reported from a Mechanic’s Perspective!


With his sights set on Suzuka as soon as the Okayama race was over, Shun has prepared this behind the scenes report of the victory at Round 1 from a mechanic’s standpoint!

The temperatures may have been cold that day, but the heat of the moment was intense enough to make you forget all about it!


We did it!!!!!!

First race of the season – first place!

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The weather at Okayama International Circuit was all over the place from the morning, with temperatures cold enough to make you forget it was April.

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During the morning Free Practice the car went out with dry tires, but as soon as we started it was misting and raining, so the car came right back to the pit so we could change to intermediate (shallow groove) tires.

But after that the weather improved, so we changed back to dry tires and went into simulations for the finals.

And then – the finals!

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Before the start, our biggest rival (!?) Mr. Suzuki from the Studie Team came by to pay a visit.

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And we’re off!

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As soon as the race started Kataoka pulled into the pole position!  In my own race last week, I finished 2nd in the qualifying came out in 1st, so at this moment I couldn’t help but thinking, “Wow.  We’ve already won.” lol!

Well, everything was fine and we were ahead of the pack when all of a sudden – it started raining again!  And when it did, the #11 Gainer SLS gained speed and passed us…

However!  The rain stopped and the road dried, and Kataoka was able to pick up the pace once again, overtaking #11!

After that #11 had a tire issue and the #31 (Prius) had some car trouble and had to retire from the race, so it was 100% #4 vs. #7 (the Studie BMW Z4!).

Kataoka pulled into the pit on lap 40!

We switched to Driver Taniguchi, refueled, switched out the 2 left tires, and then sent the car back out!  After a few more laps when #7 went into the pit the gap was about 7-8 seconds.  At one point, there was as much as a 10 second opening, but as the #7 had a fast pace that gap was quickly closing.

Everyone in the pit was sweating bullets, but as always Taniguchi came through!  This is a pretty sweet picture don’t you think!  There was only 0.329 seconds between them when he was first to cross the checkered flag!!!

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And with that the race concluded, with BMW taking 1st and 2nd place – meaning RS Fine took 1st and 2nd as well!  It was a one-two victory for the BMW Z4!

What an exciting weekend!  But I think I hear a few of you other there saying – Hey, I watched the race on TV, I was at the race, or I read Driver Taniguchi’s blog, so I already knew all that!  So just for you out there…

I want to share a little something that you probably didn’t read about anywhere else.

We’re not really sure when it happened, but there was a really deep cut on the front right tire.  Just a few more millimeters and…  AHH!  I don’t even want to think about it!

But I guess luck was on our side this time!

So to all our Personal Sponsors out there who are always showing us their support, all of our fans, everyone who came out to the race, and everyone who watched the race online or on TV, thank you all so much!

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Whenever there’s a Pit Walk or Grid Walk or anything, you can see how popular our team is and it makes us all really happy.

The season may have just barely started, but as all us mechanics have our eyes set on winning this season, we aim to get the car to the finish line as smoothly as possible, and we’re all giving it our best to make that happen!

In other news, my Super FJ Race is next weekend at Motegi.  I hope to make it a 3-week consecutive 1st place win for GSR!

Please come to Motegi to… no, just kidding!  If I win let’s all celebrate together at the the GSR Victory Party!

- Shunsuke



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