MICHELIN secures GT500 crown for second year in a row
Victory at the end of a spectacular race at Autopolis in southern Japan on September 30, 2012, allowed the S Road REITO MOLA Nissan GT-R N°1 of Ma sataka YANAGIDA/Ronnie QUINTARELLI to reap the rewards for a dramatic comeback from 10th to first place in pouring rain and clinch Japan’s 2012 GT500 title with one round remaining (Motegi, October 28, 2012). By winning the 2012 SUPER GT crown, the only NISSAN GT-R racing on MICHELIN rubber repeated the team’s achievement of 2011, the year it switched to the French firm’s tyres.
It was a particularly satisfying result for Michelin Competition’s Technical Director Nicolas GOUBERT: “MICHELIN faces competition in the GT500 series from three of its big rivals who are competing on home soil. Of the 17 cars registered for the championship, there are only two ‘privately’-entered machines which race on MICHELIN tyres: one is the MOLA car, which has now made sure of the title, and the other (N°39 SAR D Lexus SC430) will be challenging for runner-up honours at the last round at Motegi on October 28! After just four years competing in SUPER GT and with two consecutive titles to its name, MICHELIN has emerged as the benchmark tyre supplier.”
The successes of MICHELIN and its partners are the fruit of the intensive development programme carried out by Nicolas GOUBERT’s staff: “Technically, GT500 represents the top of world’s pyramid. The circuits are very varied, the track surfaces are very different and the weather can range from temperatures of up to 45°C – as we saw at Suzuka – to just 15°C, while last week’s clash at Autopolis took place in a downpour. It is consequently a big challenge for our development specialists, although they appear to have found the solution in the form of innovative technologies and extensive use of simulation calculations. We spent our first two seasons in Japan gaining experience and collecting the data we needed to develop our tyres and feed our simulation tools which are probably the most advanced of their type. Today, our partners are reaping the benefits of that groundwork.”
The S Road REITO MOLA Nissan GT-R produced an impeccable performance in the rain at Autopolis. After a troubled qualifying session (fog and rain), the N°1 car started from 10 th on the grid. However, a string of quick laps and some spectacular passing manoeuvres enabled YANAGIDA and QUINTARELLI to fight their way back to the front of the field and claim the win at the end of the 300km race.
This film of the last lap provides a glimpse of the MICHELIN-equipped S Road REITO MOLA Nissan GT-R’s exciting performance.
The final round of the 2012 SUPER GT calendar on October 28 will take teams to Motegi where MICHELIN and its partners will target a landmark one-two result.