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Super GT Okayama

De Oliveira: Moves to slow GT300-rules cars "not unexpected"

Moves to slow SUPER GT's GT300-rules cars ahead of the 2022 season are welcome but "not unexpected" according to Kondo Racing's Joao Paulo de Oliveira.

#20 Shade Racing GR86 GT

The Japanese series announced the Balance of Performance for this weekend's Okayama season opener last week, with the GT300 machines that dominated the 2021 campaign hit with a combination of weight increases, turbo boost pressure decreases and smaller air restrictors.

Meanwhile, the FIA GT3 machinery that make up the bulk of the field have seen only minor adjustments compared to last year.

  • Stream every qualifying session and race of the 2022 SUPER GT season only on Motorsport.tv.

De Oliveira was one of the most vocal critics of the BoP last year as he and Kondo teammate Kiyoto Fujinami finished runner-up in the standings behind Subaru duo Takuto Iguchi and Hideki Yamauchi.

Asked by Motorsport.com for his opinion on the revised BoP for Okayama, which also includes extra weight designed to slow the cars further on a track with little in the way of run-off areas, de Oliveira said that moves to peg back the GT300s are welcome, but not in any way surprising.

"That’s for sure the target [to slow the GT300 cars]," said the Brazilian. "I think they realised in qualifying they have a clear advantage and they are trying to make it more even.

"Nothing has been done that is unexpected. I was not surprised by anything when I looked at the BoP table. There was nothing that made me go, ‘oh wow, that’s a big change’ for anyone.

GT300 BoP changes at a glance:

Car Weight (change) Other changes
Subaru BRZ 1235kg (no change) Reduced turbo boost pressure by approx. 4%

Toyota GR Supra 

1286kg (no change) Air restrictors at 29.08mm (previously 29.67mm)
Toyota Prius PHV GR Sport 1316kg (+9kg) Air restrictors at 29.08mm (previously 29.67mm)
Toyota GR86  1286kg (new car) Air restrictors at 29.08mm
Toyota 86 MC 1233kg (+30kg) None

"The Subaru has lost some boost, so that will definitely affect them in terms of qualifying. With a light car, the boost really affects them on a qualifying lap. In the race you have different fuel consumption, and they had some reliability issues in the past so it could actually help them to preserve the engine.

"My question is why it has only been changed now and not last year. If a car is one pole four times out of eight and on the front row six times, it's clear that some adjustments need to be made."

 

The BoP is the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 that de Oliveira and Fujinami is essentially unchanged, "except for a tiny increase in boost".

"When it comes to GT3, I believe there is some kind of balance," added de Oliveira. "I expect the Ferrari [of Pacific CarGuy Racing] to go fast because they’ve been very strong in Europe as well."

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De Oliveira and Fujinami won last year's Okayama opener, which turned out to be just one of two victories for FIA GT3 cars all year.

On whether he anticipates a repeat performance this weekend, de Oliveira said that the uncertainty surrounding the true performance of many cars in the field makes it difficult to anticipate where he and Fujinami will end up.

"I wouldn’t be surprised to be there and fighting [for the win]," he said. "But I also wouldn’t be surprised if we are strong but we only finish fifth or sixth. It’s that kind of uncertainty at the moment in terms of pace.

"We’ve seen the Lamborghini go really fast, also in a race simulation. We know they will be fast, and some other GT3s. 

"It won’t surprise me if we are not at the top. It’s just about achieving what result we can get. I don’t feel pressure to go out and qualify at the front. We are confident about extracting 100 percent of our pace, and whether that’s good enough for first or only seventh or eighth, we’ll have to see."

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