Jono Lester updates us on testing with the Super GT Series in Japan……..
Testing, testing…1, 2, 3. That’s been the flavour of the month with three in-season SUPER GT tests over in Japan.
#1 – Suzuka Tyre Test
First up was two days of tyre testing at Suzuka, working closely with Yokohama to isolate our compounds for the 1000km race in August.
Honestly, Suzuka was airmarked as a ‘bogey track’ for the Porsche this season (as is Sugo), due partly to the sweltering ambient temperatures there during summer. Without getting into technicalities, Porsche suffer more than any other GT3 marque as the heat rises.
For this test, we had the luxury of cloud cover, lapping within 4/10th of the lap record to head the GT3 contingent by about half a second. A nice surprise, with lots of data gathered before returning for the Official Test here at the end of the month.
#2 – Sugo Official Test
The full field was out in force at Sugo for the first of two Official Tests in June.
Sugo is where the next round of the championship will be held, so again we used this to decide on our tyre bank for the race.
We struggled early on but found good speed in the end – on both ‘attack’ and ‘race’ simulations – to end the second day in the top five.
#3 – Suzuka Official Test
Back to Suzuka again! Never something I will tire of – this is one of the most exhilarating circuits on the planet.
Day 1 was wet, damp then dry, and we were strong in each of these three conditions, finishing third fastest of the 30 GT300 class runners.
On Day 2, we focussed on ‘long runs’. This means our mindset changes a little, and instead of attacking single laps we run 10 to 20 lap stints to gauge our lap speed, consistency and how the car balance changes from start to finish. We were still competitive, in the top five yet again despite temperatures much higher than the day before.
All in all, I’ve got a great feeling about our month of testing. It’s a luxury I’ve never had before in my career – being able to go out and do laps and laps and laps. It’s helping my driving and my understanding of the Porsche GT3-R, and it’s showing on the charts.
I’m really pumped for Round 4 at Sugo on July 22-23. Make sure you follow it LIVE here on my website, and social media.