Bjorn Wirdheim and the GAINER Team finished 3rd in the first round of the 2014 Super GT Championship held at Okayama.
Bjorn drove the first stint of the 300km race and moved the car from their 6th qualifying position into the lead before his pitstop at the half way mark. A puncture on his in-lap dropped the team into 3rd and teammate Kazuyuki Hiranaka took over and finished the race in the same position.
“We were reasonably pleased with our qualifying position although the gap to the pole-winning BMW Z4 was bigger than expected. We had a feeling that our tyre warm-up and pace would be better than our competitors in the race and I attacked hard during the first few laps in order to move us within a few seconds of the leaders,” said Bjorn.
“I managed to get myself up to third but although I was able to maintain the gap to the leaders, I wasn’t able to close it. In the end I had to accept just sitting in 3rd and hope that the race would come to us. A few laps later it started raining and that’s when I was able to make my move. Within a couple of laps I managed to get into the lead and at one point we were two seconds a lap quicker than our nearest rivals,”
“It was only wet for a few laps and once it dried up we were almost at the half way point through the race. I picked up a small vibration in the left front and realised too late that it was a puncture. As a result I just missed the pit entry and had to do half a lap with a blown out tyre getting back to the pits. Fortunately Kazu was able to finish the race in a strong 3rd position.”
“The puncture cost us a huge amount of time obviously but I think we would have struggled to fight for the win in any case as the leading BMW:s managed to get away with only changing two tyres during their stop, thus saving themselves a chunk of time. Still, it’s a good start to our championship.”
Round 2 of the Super GT Championship is held at Fuji Speedway on the 4th of May.