Track conditions were threatening before racing started at the 6 Hours of Fuji. Rain waited above the track, ready to change the race at any given moment. Race control declared a ’wet track’ permitting teams to start on wet weather tires. No team took the opportunity with all cars starting on racing slicks.
The GTE AM race looked like a tough battle from the beginning. Over half the field could’ve taken the top spot. The Aston Martin team clearly wanted a racing victory but found themselves shut down quickly. An unavoidable moment crashed their chances less than 6 minutes after the race started.
The 86 Gulf Racing team had a good start with driver and team owner Mike Wainwright at the wheel. A strong early performance found the team in first place before they dropped into the middle of the pack after an unlucky puncture.
As the race went on, there threat of more rain grew. Conditions became precarious as light showers fell on the track. Cars span and slid wide across the track. Towards halfway through the race some teams pitted for intermediate tires. The weather remained wet but not enough to benefit teams in either way.
Although number 98 was out early on, TF Sport’s sister number 90 Aston Martin had a great day. The team built speed with good pace and strong strategy, taking first while a full lap ahead of the competition.
Second was taken by the AF Corse Ferrari and the final spot was taken by Team Project one’s Porsche. Second to sixth was hotly contested with drivers trading places, paint, and wing mirrors throughout the race. The 98 Aston, although damaged in the first lap did finally cross the finish line 22 laps behind 1st place.
Gulf Racing’s misfortune resulted in an 8th place finish. The experience tricky conditions will add invaluable experience that will no doubt be useful in future races. With the treacherous conditions and serious fighting for places, every team came away with positive notes from the Fuji circuit.