A 3rd-place end in final weekend’s Fuji Speedway season finale for Yamauchi and his teammate aboard the R&D Sport-run BRZ, Takuto Iguchi, was sufficient for Subaru to assert its first championship in SUPER GT’s decrease division in additional than 20 years of attempting.
The pair ended up profitable their first titles as drivers by a remaining margin of 12 level over defending champions Joao Paulo de Oliveira and Kiyoto Fujinami (Kondo Racing Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3).
Yamauchi, who joined Iguchi the Subaru squad in 2015 to kind one of many class’s longest-standing driver partnerships, was eager to pay tribute to the group for its efforts throughout some lean seasons with the outdated BRZ, and the work of recent common supervisor Masahiro Ozawa.
“It’s been a extremely very long time coming,” stated Yamauchi. “There have been two or three actually arduous years, however I believe it was crucial that we had been in a position to get by way of these. No person within the group gave up.
“And after Ozawa-san got here in, I noticed with my very own eyes the engine division, STI and everybody in Subaru working very arduous. Driving in such an surroundings this season has been a pleasure.”
Takuto Iguchi, Hideki Yamauchi #61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT
Photograph by: Masahide Kamio
The season acquired off to a shaky begin for Subaru and the brand new BRZ, with solely a second-place end at Fuji and one different single level to indicate for the opening half of the marketing campaign.
However victory for Yamauchi and Iguchi at Sugo – Subaru’s first in three years – launched the pair to the highest of the GT300 standings, with one other podium subsequent time at Autopolis regardless of carrying most success weight placing the pair in a robust place to seal the title.
“It’s all the time fairly arduous to make a brand new automotive that’s quick,” admitted Ozawa. “In winter testing we had been ready to make sure the automotive’s pace, however we actually struggled within the first half of the season.
“We had a extremely painful expertise [finishing 10th from pole] at Suzuka, a observe the place we had been assured we might do effectively, however we used that as a turning level and the group labored as one to enhance the automotive, and I believe that’s what allowed us to win the championship.”
GT300 veteran and someday Toyota junior Iguchi additionally admitted he discovered the brand new BRZ tough to familiarize yourself with early on.
“For a number of races at the beginning of the season, for some purpose I wasn’t in a position to get on with the [new] BRZ and it was a troublesome first half of the season,” admitted Iguchi. “The group and Yamauchi helped me with that.
“I needed to win the championship it doesn’t matter what, and the very fact we had been in a position to do it jogged my memory of how robust this Subaru group is.”
Subaru’s championship victory additionally marked the primary for a automotive constructed to SUPER GT’s homegrown GT300 (previously JAF GT300) ruleset since 2013, and the primary for a non-FIA GT3 automotive since 2016.