The Super GT Season is now over, and the FIA-F4 Season ended at the same time.
Shun also made it to the victory stand… But let’s hear more from the man himself, in his report!
The Super GT Season has finally come to a close. There was also the Autopolis make-up race, a double race at Motegi that also served as a fund-raiser for the the earthquake stricken Kumamoto area, as well as 3 FIA-F4 races that I participated in.
First off, the GT.
Kataoka was driving in the Friday free practice session and got our best time! He said that luck with the other cars on the track was a contributing factor, but it doesn’t shake any of that feeling of accomplishment!
Then on Saturday morning was the Round 3 race qualifying session.
The road surface seemed dry, so we entered the track with our dry tires. But this plan backfired in the end, and we finished the qualifying in 18th.
Kataoka was the starting driver in the final race. And this is where GSR changed up their strategy! We decided to carry over whatever we learned into the next day’s race. All kinds of things went wrong, but we compiled valuable data for the next race.
Our finish was rather pathetic, but our preparations for the final race were complete!
On Sunday, Taniguchi was our driver for the qualifying.
He quickly clocked a new record time, but the other cars had gained speed as well. Even so, we were able to get 5th and start the race from an advantageous position.
Kataoka was the starting driver for the final race.
Everyone was excited when we’d climbed to 4th by the end of lap 1! After a series of steady laps. we headed for the pit a bit earlier than surrounding cars. We changed all four tires, and the wheel was passed to Taniguchi.
Most cars were keeping their tires, so we returned to the course in 9th. But then we used our 4 new tires to our advantage to pick up the pace. With only a few laps remaining, we were in 4th, and car #3 was right in front of us. Taniguchi overtook him in the V-corner, rising to 3rd! He maintained it to the finish line, earning our place on the victory stand! The final race was our best FIA-GT3 performance!
As for my FIA-F4 races…
We started testing from Wednesday, trying out all kinds of car and driver set-ups.
I was concerned as the car couldn’t perform as well as I’d anticipated, but after discussing it with the team our final set-up was a definite improvement, and we ended the dry tire testing just as the car seemed to be responding.
We’d anticipated using dry tires for the qualifying on Friday, but as there was precipitation just before the start we went with rain tires. I entered into the qualifying with our rain set-up, but wasn’t able to get a very good time early on. The qualifying session ended under a red flag.
Then there was Race 6 on Saturday.
There was still a bit of rain left over from the day before, but we decided to go into the race with dry tires anyway. I managed to avoid getting caught up in the big crash post-start, giving me the chance for a big break, but a bad decision on my part caused me to finish in 2nd place. It’s something I truly and deeply regret.
Race 13 was held that afternoon.
In order to leave brand new tires for the third race, I went in with used tires. The race was off to a good start, but going into corner 3 I was unable to gain speed and finished the race in 11th place.
Now on to the final race on Sunday.
Starting in role 3, it was a good way to end the season. At least I had a good chance of winning.
The race was off to a pretty average start, and I completed the first lap in 3rd place when the safety car came our. The front tires still didn’t seem fully warmed up, so I did the best I could to help them get going.
From the second start, I was right on the tail of the car in front of me, but couldn’t get enough speed, when all of a sudden two cars passed me from behind and I fell to 5th. I finished the race in 5th place.
Regardless of whether or not I aimed to be season champion this year, the only time I placed at all was here at this final race. All I can say is that was pathetic.
I think I was able to mature as a driver a bit throughout this season, but not nearly enough. I don’t know what will happen next year, but all I can think about right now is getting my revenge. I want to win, and don’t want my career to end like this.
I’ll be able to improve some of my weaker points during the down time between seasons. Everything I’ve done up until now hasn’t been enough, so I’m putting a lot of thought into what I can add to the regimen to make it even better.
I’d like to extend my most earnest feelings of thanks and gratitude to the team, sponsors, personal sponsors, and everyone who was cheering me on for the opportunity to participate in this year’s racing season.
Thank you all very much!
- Kawano Shunsuke