2024 Autobacs SUPER GT

Round 1 Okayama International Circuit [GT500 class]

SUPER GT, the premier Japanese touring car series, is celebrating its 30th anniversary since the Japan GT Championship. The series' environmental roadmap SUPER GT Green Project 2030 is introduced, and the number of tyre sets that can be used in one race has been reduced as well as the qualifying method has been updated. 

Sho Tsuboi/Kenta Yamashita (au TOM'S GR Supra/Bridgestone) won the pole position

Sho Tsuboi/Kenta Yamashita (au TOM'S GR Supra/Bridgestone) won the pole position in their first race of the season and maintained the lead from start to finish, except for the driver change, finishing with over an 11-second difference from second place. They also recorded the fastest lap and achieved a perfect win.

au TOM’S GR Supra/Bridgestone takes a complete victory from pole position.

The second place went to Yuhi Sekiguchi/Yuichi Nakayama (DENSO KOBELCO SARD GT Supra/Bridgestone), the third place went to Naoki Yamamoto/Ninsuke Makino (STANLEY CIVIC TYPE R-GT/Bridgestone), and Bridgestone users occupied the top nine places. 


New tyre rules for qualifying in 2024

The number of tyre sets that can be used in the 300 km race is now four, one less than last season, and only one set can be used from qualifying to the start of the race. Additionally, no cars were eliminated from Q1, and all cars ran in Q1 and Q2, with the final grid determined by the combined time of both sessions. Air and road temperatures have risen rapidly since the official joint test was held about a month ago. The fastest time in Q1 was achieved by R.

Quintarelli/Katsumasa Chiyo (MOTUL AUTECH Z/Bridgestone), followed by Hiroaki Ishiura/Fumiki Oyu (KeePer CERMO GR Supra/Bridgestone). In Q2, where they competed on the used tyres used in Q1, it was the Tsuboi/Yamashita team that took the lead in terms of combined time. Tsuboi's time in Q2 on used tyres was better than Yamashita's time in Q1 on new tyres, taking pole position with a 0.2-second difference over the Sekiguchi/Nakayama pair in second place. Yamamoto/Makino were in 3rd place.

Tsuboi and Yamashita take third straight win

Bumper to bumper action in the opening race at the Okayama International Circuit

The 300 km race started in summer conditions, with the temperature reaching 26 degrees before the race. The top racers started from the starting grid, but there was contact in the middle row, and after multiple crashes, Kodai Tsukagoshi/Kakunoshin Ota (Astemo CIVIC TYPE R-GT/Bridgestone) stopped on the course. As a result, a safety car was deployed from the first lap to the end of the sixth lap. 

After the race restarted, Tsuboi/Yamashita quickly expanded their lead. One set of tyres, which must be used from qualifying to the start of the race, must be used for at least 1/3 of the race laps (28 laps) according to the minimum number of laps for drivers.

On lap 18, Ishiura/Oyu passed Yamamoto/Makino and moved up to 3rd place, but after 28 laps, both cars pitted at the same time and changed drivers. Yamamoto/Makino quickly reversed the order and returned to the race in 3rd place. 

Dashing successfully into the lead, No.36 pulls away from the pack

The 2nd place Sekiguchi/Nakayama team pitted after 30 laps, and the leading Tsuboi/Yamashita team pitted the next lap. The positions of the top teams remained the same as they were on the grid, except for the cars affected by the accident on the first lap. The Tsuboi/Yamashita pair set stable lap times in the second stint and won the opening round with a huge lead, giving the team their third straight win since last year.


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"This third consecutive victory since the end of last season is not an easy feat to achieve in this series, so I think it was a result of the efforts of the team and Yamashita. SC At the restart after that, I was able to lead by about 3 seconds. The performance of the tyres was very stable. Yamashita told me to give him 20 seconds, but it was just over 10 seconds. After that, I handed over the baton to Yamashita and asked him to do his best. Winning will give me weight, but the next race is a three-hour race, so I think I still have a chance to win, so I'll aim for consecutive wins.”

Sho Tsuboi, Winning Driver (au TOM'S GR Supra/Bridgestone)


“It was a very good race. I'm grateful to the team and Tsuboi. I knew from the beginning that it would be a long stint, so the team told me to manage my tyres well. The grip of the tyres was stable, so I had plenty of time to spare. However, the 10-second difference that Tsuboi had built up turned into about 4 seconds, so I thought it was about time and increased my pace. I was able to get back to a lead of more than 10 seconds. In the next race, I want to show the speed that didn't go well in qualifying."

Kenta Yamashita, Winning Driver (au TOM'S GR Supra/Bridgestone)


“We were able to show stable speed from qualifying to the final race. The air and road temperatures have risen considerably since the official test in Okayama, but we are not worried about this. Although the number of tyre sets was reduced, each team was asked to keep a tyre in the middle position under the expected conditions and use that as the center for the upper (hard) and lower (soft) tyres. Each tyre had a long life and a wide range, and I think the tyres we supplied were not developed specifically for this year but were an extension of the past. The tyres were on track, so I was confident in their performance. From now on, the used tyre settings and internal pressure adjustment will be key points for qualifying.”

Takahiko Yamamoto, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Manager