Real Racing Honda Disqualified, ARTA Inherits SUGO Win
Real pair Koudai Tsukakoshi and Nobuharu Matsushita had come through to take victory at the end of a thrilling 300km race, beating the #8 ARTA Honda of Tomoki Nojiri and Toshiki Oyu by seven seconds.
However, the #17 Honda NSX-GT shared by Tsukakoshi and Matsushita failed post-race technical inspection due to a skidblock violation.
It marks the second race in succession that a podium finisher has been disqualified, after the #37 TOM’S Supra shared by Ryo Hirakawa and Kenta Yamashita was thrown out of last month’s Okayama season opener for a fuel infringement.
The exclusion means that GT500 rookie Oyu has inherited his first Super GT victory, becoming the first rookie since 2017 to win a race in the top class of Japanese sportscar racing.
He also becomes the first rookie winner of a Super GT race since Formula 1 convert Heikki Kovalainen in 2005.
“I just kept my calm and focused on my own race,” said Oyu. “My stint was long, soIi didn’t have any rush, but it felt really long. I wasn’t really focused on winning or losing, just wanting to run the best race I can.”
“I’ll be honest, I’m a bit disappointed,” he added. “I feel a bit empty inside. But still, I think what we did was everything that we could to the maximum. I’m happy with that. The potential is definitely there.”
TOM’S Lexus drivers Hirakawa and Yamashita will rise to second place in the standings, one point behind Nakajima Racing pair Naoki Yamamoto and Tadasuke Makino, who finished second in Sugo driving the #1 car.
Team Kunimitsu duo Tsukakoshi and Matsushita meanwhile scored points for finishing 12th as a result of their disqualification, while the ARTA Honda pairing moves up to seventh in the standings.
In GT300, the #55 ARTA Honda NSX GT3 of Shinichi Takagi and Toshiki Ishikawa took victory after the similarly disqualified #244 Takanoko-no-yu Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Haruki Kurosawa and Naoya Gamou had initially come out on top.
The 15-second pitstop success handicap that has been given to the B-Max Racing McLaren 720S GT3 has been removed, so from this round on there will be no success handicap applied in GT300.
However, both of the two leading GT300 cars from Okayama – the new Toyota GR Supra GT300 and Honda NSX GT3 Evo – will be hit with weight penalties in the 300km race at Autopolis.