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Report from Shun on his Super Endurance Race Debut


 

Shun raced in his first-ever Super Endurance Race last week, but how did it go?  This report is just in from the man himself, so let’s take a look!

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It was a week ago now, but I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on my first ever Super Endurance Race.

First of all, a big thank you to everyone who was cheering us on!

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This race was full of firsts for me.  My first Super Endurance, my first time driving a “box-car” in the rain, and my first time racing at night.

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And while we’re at it, it was also the first time for me to participate in the Pit Walk as a driver! (^^)

But seriously, why did Kataoka leave me out there all by myself!?  (lol)

As for the race itself…

When I heard the strategy we’d be using, I froze up…

Being that Kataoka is a platinum driver, his driving time is limited – meaning that I’d be driving for 2 stints.

Even though it was something I’d more or less anticipated, once it became a reality my nerved kicked in.

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This is a pre-race photo, but as you can see my face is all rigid, even though I’m not the starting driver. (lol)

During the final race, I was able to drive the 2 stints just fine.

For the first stint, it was my first time ever driving a “box car” on a wet race track, so I was driving uber careful as soon as I entered the course.

I wasn’t sure how the weight of the car would effect its performance in the rain.  To be quite honest, it was terrifying…  But the car was far more stable than I imagined, which was reassuring.

I adapted immediately, and was able to drive competitively.

I entered the pit as scheduled, and traded with driver Kataoka.

Kataoka was amazing – just as you’d expect.  He had both good lap time and a good pace, rising up through the ranks.

To see him perform with such stability amidst the chaos, as well as via the in-car video feed, was a valuable learning experience!

After Kataoka’s stint was over, I was back behind the wheel.

As I’d gotten used to how the car handled, I figured I could just drive as I had before.

But the rain was much heavier than I had anticipated, and when I hydroplaned in the Dunlop corner, my heart skipped a beat as the car skidded sideways.  I knew I had to finish the race no matter what though, and pressed on.

We got 6th place, but we finished the race with no accidents and I was able to keep a good lap pace, so I feel pretty good about it overall!

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There wasn’t a lot of time to practice, and even though there were only 15 dry laps this race, the experience I gained at the tire testing 2 years ago as well as driving the Z4 during the GSR Fan Festival was invaluable!

I’m not sure if it was muscle memory or what, but I adapted to the car in no time!

Kataoka was able to explain everything I didn’t know, so I really learned a lot of stuff over the week.

Not just stuff relevant to the Super Endurance, but concepts I can put to use for the F4.

And though I do feel like I’ve made some improvement, I’ll continue to work on any and everything in my pursuit to become a good driver.

I hope you all will continue to cheer me on in my journey.

- Shunsuke Kawano


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