TCR / 24 May 2021
One-two finish for Civic Type R TCR at Fuji 24 Hours
The JAS Motorsport-built Honda Civic Type R TCR scored a one-two finish at Super Taikyu’s showpiece event, the Fuji 24 Hours, as Racer M&K Racing came from behind to take an unlikely win.
The five-driver crew of ex-Formula 1 racer Shinji Nakano, Mitushiro Endo, Syun Koide, Ryunosuke Sawa and Kenta Harada had fallen six laps behind the class-leading Team Noah Civic in the opening hour and suffered several further delays before half-distance.
But the tide was turned when a technical issue caused Team Noah’s machine to spend several hours in the pit garage for repairs and handed the M&K crew the initiative.
Team Noah’s line-up of Toshiro Tsukada, Yoshikazu Sobu, Shigetomo Shimono, Kuniyuki Haga, Masataka Kubo and Yuji Kiyotaki rallied well to finish second, 13 laps behind, and cement their ST-TCR series lead with three races to go.
Civic Type R TCRs have now won ST-TCR in each of the opening three Super Taikyu races of 2021.
The STX class featured the first appearance by CarGuy’s Honda NSX GT3 Evo since SuperGT in 2018, which was raced by team owner Takeshi Kimura, regular co-driver Kei Cozzolino and Shinya Michimi - an IMSA GTD race winner in similar machinery last year.
Cozzolino started seventh as a result of the qualifying cancellation, but climbed to second by the end of the first hour to kick off a fine challenge for outright victory by the trio.
Sadly, a left-rear wheel parted company with the car while Kimura lay just 44 seconds away from the lead during the 15th hour. The time taken to recover the car back to the pits and then repair resultant damage dropped the trio to fourth in class and 13th overall.
The car was competing as part of the NSX GT3 Customer Racing Programme; a global collaborative project with JAS Motorsport responsible for assembly of all cars.
Honda Performance Development (HPD) and M-TEC handle sales and technical support in North America and Japan respectively, with JAS responsible for these areas across the rest of the world.