Yamaguchi and Newey put Team Tairoku’s new GT-R on top in qualifying
Tairoku Racing were the class of the field in Friday qualifying for the Fuji Super TEC 24 Hours, as Tairoku Yamaguchi and Harrison Newey swept both rounds of qualifying to put themselves and co-drivers Satoshi Motoyama, Nicolas Costa, and Shinichi Takagi on pole position in their #300 Team Tairoku Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.
And they did so in record fashion, starting with the first round of qualifying for the Gentleman drivers. The previous course record for the ST-X (FIA GT3) class on control tyres was set in 2014 at a 1’40.354 – but Yamaguchi in the 2018-spec Tairoku GT-R broke the 100 second barrier and updated the course record at a 1’39.538, besting Teruhiko Hamano in the #1 GTNET GT-R GT3 by six tenths of a second, with Smart Tse Ka Hing in the #83 X Works Audi R8 LMS GT3 and Joe Shindo in the #9 MP Racing GT-R GT3 several seconds adrift in third and fourth.
That set up the second round of Qualifying for the professional drivers: Defending race winner Kazuki Hoshino in the GTNET GT-R, gymkhana legend Yusaku Shibata in the MP Racing GT-R, and rookies Shinya Sean Michimi in the X Works R8, and Harrison Newey in the Tairoku GT-R.
The young Brit Newey continued his excellent form in Super Taikyu qualifying from Suzuka and Sugo, and with a blistering lap of 1’38.321 in the second round, he once again updated the ST-X course record – with a time that was only 2.5 seconds off the GT300 pole-winning time in the Super GT Fuji 500km just a few weeks ago, on control Pirelli tyres.
Newey was 1.2 seconds quicker than Hoshino in 2nd, and the aggregate time of Yamaguchi and Newey was quick enough to secure pole position for the Fuji 24 Hours by 1.854 seconds.