YOKOHAMA, Japan – The 2023 Super GT Series concluded with a heart-pounding finale at Mobility Resort Motegi in Tochigi Prefecture on November 5. Displaying remarkable resilience in difficult driving conditions, the #23 Z held its ground and ultimately finished in second place. The #1 Z, which had climbed up from 10th on the grid, secured an impressive fourth place finish.
The results of the final round solidified the season standings, with three Nissan Z GT500 cars finishing in the top five. The #3 Z ended the season in second, the #23 Z in third, and the #1 Z in fifth. While Nissan narrowly missed out on back-to-back title wins, the season showcased the speed and strength of the Nissan Z GT500.
Leading the Nissan/NISMO camps into the finale was the #3 Niterra MOTUL Z, which entered the final round in second in the rankings. The stage was set for a gripping battle, with the #3 Z securing pole position and further strengthening its chances of securing the series title. As the race kicked off under cloudy skies, the tension in the air was palpable. Katsumasa Chiyo in the #3 Z, started from pole position and defended his lead fiercely. Ronnie Quintarelli in the #23 MOTUL AUTECH Z showcased remarkable skill, moving up to fourth position. The early laps of the race saw the competitors continue to vie for position, with the #3 Z leading the pack, the #23 Z following in fourth, the #24 Z in fifth, and the #1 Z in ninth.
The race took its first turn around lap five when rain began to fall on parts of the track. The changing weather conditions posed a challenge, causing some cars to lose positions while others capitalized. Bertrand Baguette in the #1 MARELLI IMPUL Z displayed solid driving, steadily moving up the ranks and reaching fifth place by lap 10. The #24 REALIZE CORPORATION ADVAN Z, unfortunately, struggled to maintain its pace in the rain, leading to an early pit stop after 13 laps for a tire change and refueling.
As the rain subsided, the #3 Z continued to dominate, widening the gap with the rest of the field. By lap 41, after all GT500 class cars had completed their pit stops, the #3 Z regained its lead. However, the race was far from over. The #23 Z, after briefly dropping to fourth, made a strong comeback in the intensifying rain, reclaiming third by lap 57. The #1 Z also showcased impressive driving, moving up to fourth.
In the closing laps, the increasing rain made the track conditions challenging, resulting in a thrilling battle for supremacy. The #3 Z, running alone in the lead, unfortunately lost control on lap 59, going off course and dropping to 13th position.
#23 Z driver Tsugio Matsuda stated, “The last 15 laps of my stint were tough and I was overtaken. However, I fought back by being fast in the rain and was able to close the gap with the top cars.” Quintarelli followed, “It was a good race for the #23 Z to finish on the podium in second place and to take third in the championship.”
In the GT300 class five Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 cars competed, with the #56 REALIZE NISSAN MECHANIC CHALLENGE GT-R achieving an impressive sixth place finish after starting from the back of the grid in 24th. The #56 GT-R finished the season in third place in the GT300 series standings.