Up an at it early the next day for round two at Fuji Speedway and what a glorious day it was! A complete contrast to yesterday – the only disappointment being that Mt Fuji was surrounded by clouds.
A honk of the horn outside the hotel and I see the familiar shape of Richard and another guy I haven’t seen for a couple of years who happens to be great friend Dominik Schwager; a German driver who raced in Japan for many years. Delighted to see him, I jump in car and off we go.
At the circuit and with Richard tied up with Team business and commitments, I was left free to wander around with Domonik in the glorious sunshine and to really get a hold of the atmosphere here at Fuji on race-day without the torrential rain. Before Richard left us, I had time to pull off a quick picture with himself, Dom and GT Japanese legend Motoyama san; Richard’s 2004 championship winning teammate.
It was also amazing to see just how crazy the Japanese are about their racing and motor-sports. Dominik hasn’t raced in japan for 4 years, yet he was recognised and flagged down by fans all day everywhere we went!
Hanging around in the pit lane before the start of the Formula Nippon Race, I managed to catch a few shots of the cars themselves, which are loud and lightning fast V-8 550bhp rockets.
Here in Japan, everything is totally family orientated at big events like this and it’s always great to see the kids involved!
I went back to the Garage and found the boys watching the start of the Formula Nippon race, so I settled down to watch it with them and see how drivers and teams watch races as opposed to us normal folk haha. The amount of banter between the teams about what the other teams might be doing is actually quite intense. In-between watching the monitors and timing splits, I was just seeing blurs out of the corner of my eye out of the garage entrance of the cars screaming by, by God, they are quick.
An interesting race with an eventful end in which the initial winner, Andre Lotterer, was disqualified after it was found the skid block underneath his car was thicker than regulations allowed which handed Takuya Izawa the win.
In the jam packed schedule the GT300 class was up next with Richards Team mate Akihiro Tsuzuki and Igor’s team mate Kenji Kobayashi up in the Audi R8 cars of Hitotsuyama Racing.
Tsuzuki made a great start but dropped back a bit and finished 12th from 15th on the grid. Unfortunately, Kobayashi didn’t fair so well and lost the Bonnet of the car after a touch on the 2nd lap and couldn’t continue…..seems like team Hitotsuyama Racing had a tough weekend but im sure they walked away with a lot of experience to put in that knowledge bank for next season.
I decided to walk up and down the paddock and the team trailers and see if there were any interesting cars after all this is the glitz and glamour of motorsport here and im sure I might spot some kick assery in the car park and sure enough I did.
Before the GT500 got underway it was time for a bit of a photoshoot with the race queens and the drivers.
Time for GT 500 and unfortunately we couldn’t watch for long and only stayed for a few laps….the chariot waiting to carry me back to the bright lights of Tokyo was awaiting me. Coming back in the car with Richard and Domonik was fun to say the least – if you consider a 6 hour traffic Jam all the way from Gotemba to the Tokyo turngate fun.
Till next year Fuji Speedway…
7Tune – The Ultimate Motor Racing Experience Since 2005
Words and Photos – Adrian Venner
Single seaters are not seen very often on 7tune but let’s make an exception this time as the Formula Nippon, arguably the fastest of all racing categories in Asia, was sharing the top of the bill for the JAF Grand Prix Fuji Sprint Cup last week at Fuji Speedway. GTs and Touring cars are nice, but nothing can match single seaters for pure racing. One man, one machine, and the fastest comes through at the end.