Saturday, December 21, 2013

Super Taikyu: Team Nova 2013 season review

By Johan Laubscher

The 2013 Japanese Super Taikyu Endurance Series saw the participation of one Audi R8 LMS ultra team.

Nova Engineering (Team Nova) entered a single 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra this season. They debuted the car at the third round held at Twin Ring Motegi. Their driver line-up was headlined by the 2004 Le Mans winning driver from Audi Sport Japan Team Goh, Seiji Ara.

The season review has been compiled from the 2013 Audi Motorsport Blog Weekend Round Up posts. Each round has been added as was seen in the individual Weekend Round Up posts during 2013, which can be accessed via the links throughout the review below:

Round 3: Twin Ring Motegi

The Japanese Super Taikyu held round three at Twin Ring Motegi this weekend, a five hour endurance event. Nova Engineering entered their Audi R8 LMS ultra (2013) at the event. The car was tested by Seiji Ara at Motegi at the beginning of July. They qualified seventh and Nova Engineering completed the race and finished sixth overall.

Round 4: Fuji Speedway

Round four of the Japanese Super Taikyu Endurance Series was at Fuji Speedway. It was a seven hour endurance race. Team Nova Engineering and their 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra were again entered, following their debut at round three last time out at Motegi. During qualifying they achieved seventh place overall. The race itself was long and testing, and even included heavy rain during the final few hours, a race of survival. Team Nova dropped back during the first hour and they were classified thirty-ninth by the end of the first hour. They then began a very good recovery drive which saw them moving up through the field. By the fourth hour the Audi was back inside of the overall top ten and continued to perform well. Ultimately the Nova Engineering team completed the seven hours in sixth place within the GT3 class.

Round 5: Okayama

The Super Taikyu was at Okayama this weekend. It was round five of the season and it was a three hour event. The Nova Engineering Audi R8 LMS ultra made its third consecutive appearance in the series, driven by Seiji Ara and Shohei Yuzawa. They qualified seventh overall for the three hour endurance event. By the end of the first hour they had dropped outside of the top ten, but they had recovered to sixth place overall by the end of the second hour. Ultimately they finished in seventh place overall.

Round 6: Suzuka

The Japanese Super Taikyu Endurance Championship headed to Suzuka for round six. The event was split into three forty minute races/heats. Nova Engineering entered their Audi R8 LMS ultra, driven by Seiji Ara and Shohei Yuzawa. Qualifying on Saturday yielded fourth, second and fifth place starting positions for the three races respectively. Race one followed the qualifying sessions, with Yuzawa driving to a fifth place finish. Races two and three were held on Sunday. The second race saw Seiji Ara starting from second position and competing very well. He brought the Audi home to the finish for Team Nova's first podium result with their Audi, finishing third overall. The third and final forty minute sprint race saw Shohei Yuzawa behind the wheel. He started from fifth and collected the team's third top five result for the weekend by finishing fourth.

Round 7: Autopolis

The Japanese Super Taikyu Endurance Series concluded at Autopolis this weekend. The round seven finale was a three-hour race event and one Audi R8 LMS ultra was entered. Nova Engineering, Team Nova, entered their #8 Audi R8 LMS ultra at this final round. Their drivers included Seiji Ara, Shohei Yuzawa and Ryuichiro Tomita. During qualifying they achieved a fifth place starting position. The three hour race on Sunday took place in very wet and difficult conditions. The event finished with the #8 Audi R8 LMS ultra crossing the line in seventh place within the GT3 class. This concluded the 2013 Super Taikyu season, which was highlighted by a podium finish for Team Nova and their Audi R8 LMS ultra at Suzuka.