The Gridwalk presented with the media and the ticket-paying public the chance to get up close to the SuperGT racers as well as GT Queens on the main straight itself just before the race. It has become a tradition for SuperGT, sort of giving some appreciation back to the fans. Not everyday you could get up close to the racers with their cockpits exposed mostly obliging you to have a peek in to the world of SuperGT racing.
The SuperGT Safety Car was none other than the Nissan R35 GT-R which followed the GT Queens closely out of the pits.
Tsuchiya-san waited in the team box before heading out himself to be with his team on the grid.
The S Road NDDP GT-R had drivers Masataka Yanagida from Tokyo, Japan and Italian, Ronnie Quintarelli. Running on Yokohama tyres, the team was pipped by a 10ths of a second by Triple A Vantage GT3 for a podium finish in GT300 class.
The GSR ProjectMirai BMW is a definite head turner. It adds another level of fun into racing although that may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
The Evangelion RT Test-01 Petronas Shiden from Team Cars Tokai Dream28 sounded straight from manga. They had Noa Mizutani from Aichi, Japan who loves classical ballet to be the grid girl that day.
The Mooncraft Shiden GT racer is powered by a Toyota V8 and finished a respectable 5th placing in the GT300 class.
As cool as Kazuho Takahashi and Hiroki Katoh’s ‘office’ may be, cool isn’t the word best described during racing in the hot Malaysian weather.
The Green Tec & LEON SLS GT3 racer has Motoharu Kurosawa’s , or more popularly known as Gan-san, son Haruki as one of the drivers. LEON has been described as a magazine ‘middle-aged men with a bit of attitude’ and partnered Green Tec for the SuperGT racing series.
The cockpit is swathed in functional carbon fibre, making it rigid enough to withstand the rigours of racing while keeping the driver safe as well as helping in keeping the weight of the car down. Switches and toggles abound, many more than your ‘normal’ Mercedes SLS would have.
Even the Mercedes traditional star emblem is made out of carbon fibre, signifying either the presence of obsession for being light weight or just the epitome of coolness.
Spread your wings like you can fly. Grand-daddy Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing would be proud.
When I asked Maya Sano of Hankook KTR team what she thought about Malaysian men, she replied with this pose. ’nuff said!
The bright orange ARTA HSV-010 cannot be missed. Autobacs had recently opened up a branch in Malaysia and I was told that a few more branches as well as a Super Autobacs outlet will be making its appearance here soon.
Tsuchiya-san cheerfully met with the fans who came up to him not only for photographs but also autographs and would gladly have a chat or two.
Joao Paulo Lima de Oliviera and Tsugio Matsuda were shaded by the grid girls while waiting for the start of the race. They piloted the Calsonic IMPUL GT-R powered by a Nissan VRH34B before eventually finishing the race at 5th spot.
The teams were battling the heat and most of them even covered the cars with reflective sheets to avoid heat soak. As the crew unfolded the covers, I manaed to gawk at the carbon fibre wheel caps of the NISMO Motul Autech GT-R. Coolness.
Carlo Van Dam from the Netherlands had better luck than his compatriots currently playing at the Euros. He and 1st driver Takashi Kogure of Japan sat on pole before claiming the top podium in the GT500 class that weekend.
Despite the unbearable heat, the show must go on. Everybody in the team especially the GT Queens like Amy Kubo here were fully professional.
Last minute preparations before the race. Don’t forget the duct tapes and zip ties, luck favours the prepared.
The GT500 class racers were predominantly wrapped with Bridgestone rubbers while the GT300 class mostly had Yokohamas on although there are teams who had Michelin, Hankook and even…
The MonePa Lamborghini GT3 was unfortunately not classified in the race.
The car was driven my Manabu ‘Max’ Orido who came to Malaysia a few weeks ago to compete and later placed 2nd behind eventual Rd1 of the 2012 Formula Drift Asia championship, Daigo Saito. Orido shared this cockpit with Takayuki Aoki, also a former SuperGT champion like Orido himself.
Another popular drifter, Nobuteru ‘NOB’ Taniguchi partnered with Tatsuya Kataoka in last year’s GT300 champion car the GSR Hatsunemiku BMW Z4GT3.
Tatsuya Kataoka started the race and the team finished 12th at the end of the race with 1 lap down.
Reina Fuchiwaki as well as the other GT Queens were very professional, accepting request for photos with punters graciously while the pit crew prepped the cars. It was strictly ‘see only, no touch’ and well understood by the crowd.
As the horn was blown signaling the end of the gridwalk session, the crowd were ushered back to the stands by the GT Queens and track marshalls. Everybody including most of the pit crew made their way back to the pits and stands shortly after.
There it is folks, the gridwalk at SuperGT Rd3 Sepang. It is an experience like no other and should be cherished by any automotive enthusiast at least once.
Next, let the race begin!
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