Tag Archives: Nakajima

That’s Entertainment – 6 Hours Of Siverstone

Last Sunday saw the runners and riders of the World Endurance Championship gather for the 6 Hours Of Silverstone with a smattering of new rules, new cars, cars and new faces.

Of the new rules the most significant was abandoning the safety car in all but the most extreme cases for full course yellow’s and this led to the race being disturbed for only 8 minuets over six hours and no unnecessary bunching of the field.

6 Hours Of Silverstone

Qualifying in the top LMP1 category was locked out by the two Porsche 919 Hybrids, reckoned to be more powerful than the 900hp Peugeot 908 turbo diesels, driven Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber with Brendon Hartley and Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb which can be seen leading the pack of Audi’s and Toyota’s on the opening lap.

Thanks to an electrics problem that knocked out his telemetry and gave him a misfire Benoit Tréluyer is seen on the extreme left of the photo above as he fell all the way back to tenth place in the opening laps before the problem sorted it’s self out.

Ferrari F458 Italia, Shaytar / Bertolini / Basov, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

Despite qualifying only 5th fastest in the GTE/Am category Russians Victor Shaytar, Aleksey Basov with Italian Andrea Bertolini came through to finish third in class and 18th overall, with their #72 SMP Racing Ferrari F458 Italia seen above on the Hangar Straight.

Ferrari F458 Italia, Perrodo / Collard / Aguas, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

Seen turning into the fast sweeping Abbey above is the #83 AF Corse Ferrari of Frenchman François Perrodo and Emmanuel Collard who with Portugals Rui Aguas qualified 4th in LMGTE/Am and finsihed 2nd in class and 17th overall.

Dalla Lana / Lamy / Lauda, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

Only 30 seconds covered the top three LMGTE Am class finishers after six hours of racing, Canada’s Paul Dalla Lama with Portugal’s Pedro Lamy and Austian Mathias Lauda converted their LMGTE/Am pole into a first place in class finish, 16th overall, driving the #98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8 seen at Becketts above.

Ferrari F458 Italia, Rigon / Calado, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

Slowest of the 7 LMGTE Pro qualifiers were Italy’s Davide Rigon and Britain’s James Calado but they dug deep and finished the race third in class, 11th overall, less than 30 seconds behind the class winners.

Porsche 911 RSR, Chevrolet Corvette C7, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

German Richard Leitz and Denmarks Michael Christensen qualified their #91 Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR in 4th place behind three Aston Martin’s, by the end of the race the Aston’s had all fallen one lap down on the three class leading LMGTE Pro cars.

The 2nd in class, 10th place overall, finishing #91 Porsche is seen lapping the returning Labre Competition teams new LMGTE Am #50 Corvette C7 driven by Italians Gianluca Roda, Paolo Ruberti and Denmarks Kristan Poulsen at Vale above.

Ferrari F458 Italia, Bruni / Vilander, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

Winners of the LMGTE Pro class and 9th overall were Italy’s Gianmaria Bruni and Finlands Tony Vilander who qualified their #51 AF Course Ferrari 5th in class, the Ferrari is seen being chased by a LMP1 Toyota at the Arena.

HPD ARX 03B - HPD, Sharp / Dalziel / Heinemeier Hanson, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

While awaiting the delivery of a new pair of LMP2 Ligier’s the Extreme Motorsports team made their debut in the WEC with a pair of HPD (Honda Performance Developmant) ARX O3B’s.

The #30 HPD, seen above exiting Maggots, driven by American Scott Sharp, Britain Ryan Dalziel and Denmarks David Heinemeier Hanson qualified 4th in class and crossed the line third in class.

Regrettably the car was excluded because it was found in post race scrutineering to have been running with a thinner ALMS spec plank under the car than the mandated thicker WEC spec plank, this was a tough break for the popular US team.

Dome S103 Nissan, Leventis / Watts / Kane_6 Hours Of Silverstone

With the exclusion of the #30 the Nissan powered #42 Strakka Racing Dome S103 driven by Britain Nick Leventis, Danny Watts and Jony Kane was awarded third in class.

Watts ended up going into the kitty litter on the first corner of the first lap but with help from the marshalls the team recovered from last place to finish a respectable 8th overall.

Ligier JS P2 Nissan, Yacaman / Derani / Gonzalez, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

Columbian Gustavo Yacaman, Brazilian Luis Felipe Derani and Mexican Ricardo Gonzalez qualified their Nissan powered #28 G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2, seen at entering Becketts on class pole, but finished the race 2nd in class, 7th overall and 1 lap behind their team mates …

Ligier JS P2 Nissan, Rusinov / Canal / Bird, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

Russian Roman Rusinov Frances Julien Canal and Sam Bird, who’s class winning #26 Ligier is seen above at Club.

Toyota TS040 Hybrid, Davidson / Buemi / Nakajima, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

At the head of the field representatives from all three leading manufacturers took turns at the lead after qualifying fourth reigning World Endurance Champions Brit Anthony Davidson and Swiss Sébastien Buemi, who were joined by the Japanese Kazuki Nakajima came through to a third place finish just 15 seconds behind the the winning car.

6 Hours Of Silverstone

After easily leading the opening 90 mins of the race from pole position Mark Webber had to retire the lead #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid with transmission issues before team mates Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley had a chance to drive it, leaving the sister #18 front row starter driven by Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Neel Jani with a small lead over the fast recovering #7 Audi driven by Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fässler and Andre Lotterer.

A fantastic battle between the two leading cars ensued from the half way stage of the race, which included this linked scrap with 50 mins to go, at the end of the day the inferior tyre wear on the faster Porsche swung victory away from them despite trying a two tyres only final stop.

Above Neel Jani slices past the LMGTE Am #96 Aston Martin driven by Francesco Castalocci, Roland Goethe and Stuart Hall while the #1 Toyota awaits to slice past the LMGTE Am Dempsey Proton Racing #77 Porsche driven by Patrick Dempsey, Patrick Long and Marco Seefried and LMGTE Pro #99 Aston Martin driven by Alex Macdowall, Fernando Rees, and Richie Stanamay.

Audi R18 e-tron quattro, Fässler / Lotterer / Tréluyer, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

With 15 minutes to go the #7 Audi driven by Marcel Fässler had lead of over a minute when it was called in for a splash and dash stop. At the same time the #7 was also awarded a stop go penalty for an overtaking maneuver beyond the track limits at club.

The #7’s lead was just 37 seconds after the splash and dash and less than 10 seconds after the penalty stop, but there were not enough laps left for Neel to chase the #7 down and with a winning margin of less than five seconds it was the Audi Sport Team Joest drivers who’s names were added to the base of the 110 year old Tourist Trophy at Silverstone.

Despite starting with an electical failure the #7, seen passing the 3rd placed #1 Toyota in the Arena above, came through to win by covering a record 201 laps.

Thanks for joining me on this “That’s Entertainment” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Chrysler 300D. Don’t forget to come back now !


Satoru’s Fastest Lap – Lotus Judd 101

1989 saw the phenomenally expensive 1200 – 1500 hp 1.5 litres / 91.5 cui turbo charged engines that had first been seen in Formula One racing in 1977 and that had come to dominate the sport by 1983 finally outlawed in 1989. New regulations mandating 3.5 litre / 213 cui motors were introduced for the 1989 season but Honda who had come to dominate the last years of the turbo era were about to dominate the opening years of the new normally aspirated era with a V10 motor that was simply more reliable and more powerful than the opposition.

Lotus Judd 101, Classics at the Castle, Sherborne

Team Lotus were on the upper slopes of steep decline in 1989 neither Nelson Piquet or Satoru Nakajima had offered the dominant McLaren’s with whom they shared an engine supplier in 1988 much by way of competition, and Lotus finished a poor 4th behind Ferrari and Benetton when their motors should have been good enough to finish second behind McLaren.

Lotus Judd 101, Race Retro, Stonleigh

For 1989 Lotus lost their Honda deal and ended up with Judd V8 CV spec motors while Judd’s preferred customer March was on EV spec motors.

Lotus Judd 101, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet

The 1989 Lotus 101 cars were designed by Frank Dernie a former Williams aerodynamicist Frank Dernie whom Nelson Piquet had persuaded to defect, though by the time Frank arrived much of the design had been completed by future short lived MWR, Micheal Waltrip Racing, design consultant Mike Coughlan.

Lotus Judd 101, Classics at the Castle, Sherborne

In order to save weight and seek aerodynamic advantage on their competitors the Lotus 101 cockpit was so narrow that Momo were commissioned to build ultra narrow steering wheels so that Nelson and Satoru did not scrape their knuckles on the cockpit sides.

Lotus Judd 101, Race Retro, Stonleigh

Lotus entered an agreement with Tickford to develop 5 valve per cylinder heads for their 2nd string Judd V8’s to make up some of the 125 hp the CV motors had on the most powerful Honda V10’s but the idea was eventually scrapped mid season.

Lotus Judd 101, Classics at the Castle, Sherborne

Team Lotus scored four seasons high 4th places 3 for Nelson and one for Satoru enough with two more points finishes for Nelson to secure 6th place for Team Lotus in the 1989 Championship.

Lotus Judd 101, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet

Possibly the most remarkable result for the team came at the season ends Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide where the race was run in monsoon conditions, only 8 of the 26 qualifiers were running at the races end and of them Satoru Nakajima came through from 23rd of the grid to finish 4th and final runner on the lead lap. In the process Satoru recorded the races fastest lap a feat he would never repeat.

Lotus Judd 101, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet

Although Lotus were running second string Judd CV engines they finished ahead, in championship points, of the other Judd users Brabham; March, and Euro Brun the latter who like Yamaha powered Zakspeed failed to even pre qualify for a single on of the seasons 16 races.

Thanks for joining me on this “Saturo’s Fastest Lap” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


F687/S – Lotus Honda 99T

1987 brought about several changes for the Lotus team firstly their hitherto sponsor John Player Special withdrew from the sport and secondly their hitherto engine supplier Renault followed suit.

Fortunately for Lotus Williams, who had an exclusive contract with Honda for the supply of motors in 1986, let the 1986 World Drivers Championship slip away by allowing their drivers Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell to take points off one another by refusing to issue team orders or nominate one over the other as preferred winner. This did not go down well with Honda or their preferred driver Nelson Piquet.

Lotus Honda 99T, Goodwood Festival of Speed

As a consequence Honda came to an arrangement with Lotus to supply year old 1986 motors to Lotus for 1987 and at the same time did a deal with McLaren to supply top spec motors for the 1988 season with Ayrton Senna as their preferred driver. Meanwhile Senna was partnered by Saturo Nakajima in the Lotus team at the behest of Honda whom Honda had tried unsuccessfully to place at Williams in place of Mansell in 1986.

Furthermore Lotus managed to secure sponsorship from the new big spenders on the Formula One block Camel.

Lotus Honda 99T, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Despite being already down on power on the Williams team thanks to the year old motors being used, Gerard Ducarouge took the brave decision to use active suspension on the 99T which although offering advantages to consistent ride height, pitch and roll added 25kgs/55lbs in weight an required 5% of the motors power to keep it working.

Lotus Honda 99T, Goodwood Festival of Speed

By the end of 1987 Senna had won two races, just as he had in ’85 and ’86, both on street circuits at Monaco and Detroit. The Detroit race would prove to be the last victory for a car built by the Lotus team founded by Colin Chapman. With 57 points, two more than in ’86 Senna finished 3rd in the World Championship in 1987 while Nakajima’s additional 7 points helped Lotus secure third in the Constructors championship.

The 1987 season marked a high point for Team Lotus since the death of Colin Champman in 1982 and from there until 1994 when the team founded by Chapman made it’s final appearance in the sport.

Players in Japan and the United States of the Gran Turismo 3 game will be familiar with the Lotus Honda 99T which was given the alias “F687/S”.

Thanks for joining me on this “F687/S” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to came back now !


Targeting Ferrari – Honda NSX (Refresh)

The Honda NSX was designed to show case Honda’s Formula One World Championship winning technology in a super car that was as practical a proposition on the road as a Honda Civic. In order to achieve that goal Honda aimed at making a game changing car that was both better than the Ferrari 328 and 348 models and significantly cheaper.

Honda NSX, Piston Heads, BMW Factory

The design team for the New Sportscar – eXperimental (NSX) was led by Chief Designer Nicholas Zander and Executive Chief Engineer Shigeru Uehara who allegedly studied an F-16 Fighter for idea’s to incorporate into the new vehicle. Formula One drivers Saturo Nakajima and Ayrton Senna contributed to the design process along with Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal. It was at Senna’s insistance that the all aluminium chassis was made stiffer than was originally conceived.

Honda NSX, Piston Heads, BMW Factory

The NSX, each one built by a hand picked team with a minimum of ten years experience, was launched in 1990 to much acclaim with a transversely mounted 2997 cc / 181 cui V6 motor that produced 270 hp good for propelling the NSX to 60 mph from rest in 5.02 seconds and a quarter mile time of 13.47 seconds.

Honda NSX, Piston Heads, BMW Factory

Twelve years after it’s launch and upgraded version the NSX was launched in 2002 now powered by a 3197 cc / 194 cui V6 motor which produced 290 horsepower that lowered the quarter mile time to 13.3 seconds. The revised edition as seen here is externally easily differentiated by the absence of the pop-up lights which were mandatory at the time of the vehicles launch to gain access to the US Market.

Honda NSX, Piston Heads, BMW Factory

Production of the NSX ceased in 2005. Gordon Murray who designed the 1992 McLaren F1 and owned an NSX for 7 years is quoted from a Japanese interview as saying of this game changing car “The moment I drove the NSX, all the benchmark cars—Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini—I had been using as references in the development of my car vanished from my mind. Of course the car we would create, the McLaren F1, needed to be faster than the NSX, but the NSX’s ride quality and handling would become our new design target.”

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Targeting Ferrari’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !