Bjorn Wirdheim and the GAINER team took their third consecutive podium in last weekends Round 3 of the Super GT Championship at Autopolis.
The team were carrying 52kg of handicap weight following their success in the previous two rounds. Bjorn took the car through Q1 and safely into Q2 where teammate Katsuyuki Hiranaka took over to grab a final 5th starting position for Sunday’s 300km race.
“Qualifying went surprisingly well considering how heavy we were with handicap weight. We didn’t expect to qualify so strongly. Autopolis is usually very hard on tyre wear and fortunately the Dunlop tyre performed really well with next to no drop in performance over the 30 laps we were targeting in order to get away with only one pitstop,” said Bjorn.
“As our race pace looked strong we were hopeful of finishing on the podium. I drove the first stint and managed to move into 4th immediately following the start. I then got stuck behind the #3 GT-R and wasn’t able to pass as their straight-line speed was too strong for us. We were clearly significantly faster but they were able to pull out a gap on every straight,”
“I made sure I kept the pressure on, hoping to force a mistake and after twenty laps I finally got my opportunity in GT500 traffic. I passed on the outside into the hairpin and then focussed on trying to pull out a gap so that we could safely resume the race following our pitstop in the same position,”
“The stop was quick and Katsu took over for the final part of the race and resisted pressure to hold on to the podium position. The result takes us to within 3 points of the championship leader, the #4 BMW Z4. A great result considering the circumstances and pretty much a perfect weekend. We were the highest finishing GT3 car behind the two JAF cars that finished ahead. And they were so far ahead 3rd was really the best we could achieve this weekend.”
“The Dunlop tyre performed extremely well in hot conditions which is promising for the summer season.”
Round 4 of the Super GT Championship is held at Sugo on the 20th of July.