• 2015/07/06
  • S-Tai

Two MWIM Drivers Successfully Complete S-Tai 8 Hours

Round 3 of the Super Taikyu Series, the SUPER TEC Fuji 8 Hours, was held on July 5th (Sun) at Fuji Speedway, where the NOPRO entries, the #117 Demio, the #17 new model SKYACTIV-D Demio, the #54 TCR Roadster and the #88 Murakami Motors Roadster all successfully completed the race. Joining chief driver, Yutaka Seki in the #117 Demio, were two members of the Mazda Women in Motorsports project (Hiroko Komatsu / Yuriko Hayashi) and the three managed to bring their machine home in 5th place.

With rain falling continuously at Fuji Speedway from the second half of official qualifying held on the previous day, most were expected fairly consistent rainfall for race day. However, by the morning it had reduced to just a light drizzle and right as things were progressing towards race start the rain stopped completely but remained overcast. Still, the course was still in a full wet state, and Hayashi, who served as the starting driver in the #117 Demio, initially looked a little flustered in her Super Taikyu baptism of fire, “The spray kicked up from other vehicles greatly reduces visibility. Not only that, I think I was overly caught up in being careful not to get in the way of faster class vehicles when being overtaken.” However, after her second stint towards the end of the race, she was able give a bright smile and said, “The course became completely dry and I got used to being overtaken by the higher class machines so I was able to create a good rhythm. The most important thing is to drive without falling off the race-line and I managed to do that and record my own personal best time. This is a team play race, so I’m really happy I was able to bring the car back to the pits in one piece.” On the other hand, second driver, Komatsu said, “By the time it was my turn to take the wheel the road surface had dried up, but I still spun out one time. In my second stint, though, my driving also became steady and I was able to re-write my own personal best. I think I definitely started to get the hang of it. I caused some trouble to the team when I was hit with a drive through penalty for not killing the engine when I went into the pits. However, I’m really happy that we could complete the entire race. This was such a great experience. Thanks everyone, so much!” In a long distance, 8-hour race, getting into a good rhythm and consistently ticking off laps is an essential skill. NOPRO team representative, Toshihiko Nogami commented, “It’s fantastic that the two [MWIM] drivers managed to safely complete their first Super Taikyu race. They still have a lot to learn in terms of the driving style and adaptability necessary for endurance style races, but I really hope they take all the lessons they’ve learned from today and make use of them in their future races.”

In the #17 SKYACTIV-D Demio, veteran Tatsuya Tanigawa began the race from the tail end and began to gradually rise up the order but started to feel vibrations coming from his machine. To be on the safe side he pitted early in the race to replace the wheel hub assembly, and this caused them to fall 4 laps behind the competition. Playing catch up for the remainder of the race, they were only able to finish in class 6th, but looking at the fact that they were able to catch up with the second group of ST-5 class machines, they are sure to be aiming for a better result in future races. TCR, which invited 19-year old rookie, Yui Tsutsumi to take the role of third driver, started from 18th in the ST4 class and managed to achieve an 8th place finish. Murakami Motors’ entry made a pit position error during one of its stops, which cost them time and left them finishing in 13th.

The next round of the Super Taikyu will be held on August 2nd at Autopolis in Oita Prefecture.

Photo by MZRacing


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