Race Report

A Bold Race Strategy Wins the Day!

Gran Turismo World Series 2022 Manufacturers Cup - Round 1

Tokyo, Japan (23 July 2022) – The Manufacturers Cup pits the world’s top car makers against each other in the new-look Gran Turismo World Series. Last year saw Toyota claim the overall title with a dominant performance in the World Finals, and while it’s still among the favourites to win it all this year, the likes of Porsche, Subaru, Mazda and newcomer Genesis look to be strong contenders for the title.

Like last Series, only one race makes up each Round, so the pressure was on to get to the podium for this Round 1 contest because only the top three finishers receive World Series Points that will count in the World Finals in November (three for 1st place, two for 2nd, and one for 3rd). And judging by how things went here today, we are in for a competitive and unique championship.

Round 1: Watkins Glen Long Course

The venue for the Manufacturers Cup was the newest track to join the Gran Turismo lineup, Watkins Glen. With every team running only one tyre (the hard-compound Michelins), no tyre changes were required; however, each driver did need to make one mandatory pit stop. Coming as no surprise to anyone was that Toyota took the pole for this 14-lap contest, with Brazilian and 2018 Nations Cup champion Igor Fraga (IOF_RACING17) behind the wheel. Lined up next to the GR Supra Racing Concept was Team Nissan’s GT-R Nismo, piloted by Frenchman Mehdi Hafidi (V1_Mehdi59). In the three-spot was 2021 champion Takuma Miyazono’s (Kerokkuma_ej20) BRZ GT300, representing Subaru.

The 12-car rolling start resulted in a clean pass for all the cars through Turn 1, with the Supra leading the single-file formation. All seemed to be going to plan, when at the end of the lap, the Subaru BRZ dove into the pits! The move came as a surprise to many, but perhaps not to those who know Miyazono. He has proved time and again to be a master strategist, and he seemed to be playing another one of his unique gambits to gain the upper hand later. When returning to the track, he was behind the 8th-place car by 12 seconds, but in plenty of clean air to really attack the track.

Lap 2 saw more cars pit, as Lucas Bonelli (TGT_BONELLI) in the AMG GT3 and Roberto Sternberg (Vortex_Amarok_23) in the Volkswagen Beetle Gr.3 went in. The following lap saw the Nissan pit, giving up its 2nd-place spot, while race leader, the Toyota Supra driven by Fraga, stayed out, hoping to build up his lead before making his required pit stop. He finally came in at the end of lap 5, joined by Nicolas Romero in the Genesis X GR3 who was running in 2nd place. Fraga returned to the track behind pace-setter Miyazono’s Subaru and Hafidi’s Nissan GT-R.

At the halfway point of the race, the running order for the top three was: the BMW M6 GT3 driven by Ryo Kumata (Ryo3GoGo), followed by the Porsche 911 RSR of Jose Serrano (TDG_JOSETE) and the Aston Martin Vantage with Adam Wilk (Adam_2167) behind the wheel, but all three of them had yet to pit; therefore, the real race leaders were Subaru (Miyazono), Nissan (Hafidi) and Genesis (Romero).

The next few laps saw Miyazono charging hard, as his Subaru BRZ started reeling in the 3rd-place Aston Martin of Wilk, who still hadn’t pitted. The Japanese driver was flying around the track, setting fastest lap of the race. When the race leader finally pitted on lap 10, Miyazono was comfortably in the lead with a 4.0-second cushion with three laps to go.

It was now a race for 2nd place between Nissan (Hafidi), Genesis (Romero) and AMG (Bonelli). There was less than 1.5 seconds that separated P2 and P4, and none of the drivers seemed willing to give an inch. The final three laps of the race saw them relentlessly battle each other, but the Genesis was too much for the Nissan and AMG, crossing the finish line in 2nd place and earning two points in the process. But it was Miyazono’s masterful drive and race strategy that highlighted the day. His bold move making his pit stop at the start of the race resulted in a brilliant win for Subaru.

He said afterward: “Of course, I thought about a lot of things before the race. I started in 3rd behind the Toyota and Nissan, but I felt that the Subaru BRZ had better fuel economy, so I thought if I pitted on the first lap, I could go as fast I could for the rest of the race. I was watching the fuel meter throughout the race, and I used more than I wanted around the third and fourth laps, so to balance everything out later was a bit of a task. But in the end, I was able to win the race, so it all worked out.”

All of the action can be watched on the official Gran Turismo YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/GranTurismoOfficial/ and more information is available on gran-turismo.com

Gran Turismo World Series 2022 Manufacturers Cup - Round 1

Rank Manufacturer / Drivers Time
1 Subaru Takuma Miyazono 24:49.235
2 Genesis Nicolas Romero + 03.802
3 Nissan Mehdi Hafidi + 05.317
4 Mercedes-AMG Lucas Bonelli + 06.190
5 Toyota Igor Fraga + 08.965
6 Porsche Jose Serrano + 08.980
7 Jaguar Ádám Tápai + 10.493
8 BMW Ryo Kumata + 10.930
9 Volkswagen Roberto Sternberg + 12.129
10 Aston Martin Adam Wilk + 17.181