News 7 Aug 2023

Team HRC victorious at 2023 Suzuka 8 Hours

Back-to-back victories for outfit at pretigious EWC event.

Image: Supplied.

Team HRC with Japan Post made it back-to-back victories at the Suzuka 8 Hours with Tetsuta Nagashima, Takumi Takahashi and Xavi Vierge delivering a commanding showing at the 2023 edition of the prestigious event.

Qualifying fastest, Team HRC was shuffled back to fifth in the early stages before taking the lead after a battle with YART Yamaha in the first stint.

Team HRC’s gap to its rivals really extended when the YART Yamaha stopped on track on the run out of Spoon Curve at the 1h36min mark. With the help of marshals, the YART machine of Karel Hanika was pushed back to the pits where an electrical issue was identified and fixed after a significant time loss.

A further pit visit to fix a loose fairing left former Endurance World Championship (EWC) leaders YART in 40th position after four hours of racing. It ultimately crossed the finishing line in 23rd.

Following a late rain shower, TOHO Racing (Ikuhiro Enokido, Ryuichi Kiyonari and Takuma Kunimine) and SDG Honda Racing (Teppei Nagoe, Haruki Noguchi and Naomichi Uramoto) completed the podium.

F.C.C. TSR Honda (Alan Techer, Mike Di Meglio and Tarran Mackenzie) was able to recover from its delay in the opening hour to retake the championship lead by finishing fourth. Meanwhile, AutoRace Ube Racing Team (Dan Linfoot and Takuya Tsuda) completed the top five.

Early leader Yoshimura SERT Motul looked set to improve on its 2022 placing of third by claiming the runner-up spot, only for Gregg Black to crash nearing the seven-hour mark. Black’s Suzuki-powered team responded to late-race rain by switching the UK-born French rider onto wet weather tyres.

Returning to the track for what would have been a double stint in the hot and humid conditions, Black slid off at the ‘S’ Curves and eight minutes were lost in the pits while repairs were made. Sylvain Guintoli completed the race for the team in P12.

Australia’s Josh Hook did not contest the event with F.C.C. TSR Honda due to injuries sustained in a training accident prior to the round, while a qualifying incident at Suzuka ruled Josh Waters out of completing the event with the S-Pulse Dream Racing team. The Suzuki-powered outfit went on to finish the event in P9 with Marcel Schroetter and Atsumi Cocoro.

After three rounds of the 2023 Endurance World Championship, F.C.C. TSR Honda France leads YART by 14 points, with the fourth and final stop on this year’s EWC calendar, the Bol d’Or, taking place between 14-17 September.

Detailed results