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■ Tokyo Auto Salon 2018 Super GT Cars PRESS-DAY 11th January 2018

After processing our photos, I noticed a LOT of photos of competiton spec cars, now I'm not sure if that's my own subconscious taste in cars shining through, or if there was just a lot of race cars at TAS this year, no complaints either way.


The Concept-GT was part of the Super GT booth that was in the Lobby - so this was the first taste of TAS before you enter the exhibition halls and what an entrée it was !

The Concept-GT is a competition-ready vehicle Race Teams can purchase to compete in the Super GT race series in Japan. Based on the new NSX (NC1), the GT version sports a 100% Carbon Fibre Body and Chassis with the entire car weighing in at just 1,049KG before you put any fuel in it.

Splitters, Canards, winglets, venturi's, flaps and scoops, this thing has as much, if not more, functional aerodynamic devices as an F1 car!
As per 2018 GT500 Class regulations, the Concept-GT is pushing out over 550PS (404+ KW) from a 2L in-line 4 cylinder, Direct Injection, Dry-Sump, Turbocharged and Intercooled HR-417E engine. Without the complicated Hybrid system as seen on the production (road car) NSX, all of that power is going to the rear wheels unlike the standard road-going NSX that uses electric motors on the front wheels to provide SH-AWD.
#8 ARTA NSX-GT (Tomoki Nojiri + Takuya Izawa)
Perhaps the cars are almost the same, but even if the different teams run the same NSX, they still have some variation, like the wheels and tyres for example, allowing sponsorship / partnerships to encourage development within the category and industry in general. The Arta car is partnered with Bridgestone while other cars you may see on Dunlop or Yokohama tyres.
#17 KEIHIN (Real Racing) NSX-GT
The fade from a chrome vinyl to the traditional Keihin Blue is a space-age touch to the livery, driven by Koudai Tsukakoshi + Takashi Kogure and also in the Bridgestone camp.
#16 TEAM MUGEN NSX-GT (Hideki Mutoh + Daisuke Nakajima)
The Mugen NSX had the most striking livery of all the Super GT cars and jumped out at anybody in proximity of the Mugen booth. The combination of traditional Mugen red, golden olive and black, are incoprorated to their new 'Mejikara' eye design that symbolized the Fighting Spirit.
Pretty hard to miss the Motul logos on the #16 car, with Mugen having a long running partnership and even releasing their own engine oil, specifically developed by Motul for the new tenth-generation Civic.
#100 RAYBRIG (Team Kunimitsu) NSX-GT
Perhaps the biggest news in Super GT has been the announcement that former F1 World Champion Jenson Button has joined Team Kunimitsu for the 2018 season, to share the driver's seat with Naoki Yamamoto. In the first race of the 2018 season at Okayama Circuit, they finished on the podium in 2nd, then at Fuji Speedway after starting from 2nd place on the grid they finished 9th, and on the podium again in 2nd place for Round 3 at Suzuka to sit at 2nd in the Championship so far !
*EDIT: Jenson was faster to take his first Super-GT round win that we were posting our article from January HAHA. Congratulations Jenson and Yamamoto San on your victory at Sugo!!
After bumping into Jenson in the crowd earlier in the day, we arrived at the Honda stand just in time to see the team announcement in front of the massive crowd - he is a Superstar in Japan !
The actual Raybrig NSX that Jenson will be driving was kind of tucked away almost hidden in one of the corridors so I only managed to get one shot in our mad rush through the crowd as the general public stormed the building after 2:00pm.
#64 EPSON (Nakajima Racing) NSX-GT
Kosuke Matsuura shares driving duties with a driver from Belgium whom has perhaps the most catchy name in the game - Bertrand Baguette. You'll note the Epson NSX is wearing Dunlops unlie most of the NSX's on Bridgestones.

The Motul / Autech GT-R finished the 2017 Team's Championship in 2nd overall and the number of the car is normally 23, so we're not sure why there's a number 1 on the Racing bib here. For the 2018 season it is driven by Tsugio Matsuda and Italian Ronnie Quintarelli.

Blatant plug for Motul - check out the range of Motul products for your Honda available HERE.
The b-Max Racing Team GT-R, driven by Satoshi Motoyama and Katsumasa Chiyo, is now wearing the #3 Racing Bib in the 2018 series, also under the Motul Banner but here it is still in 2017 livery.

#37 KeePer Lexus LC 500
The Lexus / Team KeePer LC 500 was actually the 2017 Series Champion and also at the top of the field early in the 2018 season. Driven by Ryō Hirakawa and Nick Cassidy from New Zealand - so not only do we have Kiwi's dominating the Supercars series here in Australia, but also on top of the podium in Japan !! What do they teach these kids in school in New Zealand ?!
GT300 Class:
It says 'Proud of Boxer' however the #61 car driven by Takuto Iguchi and Hideki Yamauchi finished the 2017 Championship in 9th place.

This shot from the front really shows how much they had to add on to get the width from the BRZ Body, it's certainly one of the more 'chunky' adaptions from road to race car.
Autobacs Racing Team Aguri, we just love saying that but it makes sense the shortenened the team name to 'ARTA'. Driven by Shinichi Takagi and British Driver Sean Walkinshaw.
#31 APR Toyota Prius GT3
Yes, we know it's a Prius, but it's a GT300 Prius! Driven by Koki Saga and Rintaro Kubo whom finished 15th in the 2017 season but have jumped up to 7th in the rankings this year.
Bede Grainger


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