Honda NSX Type S could struggle to overtake, says Makino
Makino and Team Kunimitsu teammate Naoki Yamamoto go into the new season hoping to win back the crown they won in 2020 armed with the latest version of the NSX-GT that has been updated this year in line with Honda’s limited-edition NSX Type S road car.
- Honda NSX Type S SUPER GT car makes public debut at Suzuka
While the car’s new-look front section is said to produce more downforce than before, Makino thinks that the increased drag of the Honda could create headaches in a race situation, especially up against the lower, sleeker cars of the marque’s GT500 rivals Toyota and Nissan.
“I think we are more competitive, and the average aero [performance] is better than last year,” Makino told Motorsport.com. “Especially last year we were a little bit struggling on race pace, but this time the situation is better.
“The main problem is straight-line speed now. I don’t know if that’s a problem here at Okayama but I think at Fuji we will struggle. And in a race situation, it’s very difficult to overtake.
“Even if the pace is good, it can still be difficult to overtake. Last year I had this situation a lot, that I couldn’t overtake the Supra. And now the [Nissan] Z is more like the Supra.”
However, Makino is optimistic that Honda can put in an improved showing at Okayama, a track where the NSX-GT struggled last year in comparison to the all-conquering GR Supra.
“I didn’t race here last year [due to illness], but it looks like better than last year,” he said. “I think we need to improve more, but the situation is not bad, I think.”
- Toyota drivers say Supra has lost its edge at Okayama
Matsushita bullish after topping afternoon sessions
While Toyota and TOM’S topped the combined timesheets, the #17 Real Racing Honda shared by Nobuharu Matsushita and Koudai Tsukakoshi paced both afternoon sessions of the Okayama test.
#17 Astemo NSX-GT
Photo by: Masahide Kamio
Matsushita was at the wheel on both occasions, with his effort on Saturday afternoon putting him within a tenth of a second of pacesetter Sho Tsuboi.
The ex-Formula 2 racer, who has moved to Honda after making his GT500 debut for Nissan last year, said he was “a bit surprised” by his laptime, adding that he was “not on the limit at all.”
“There is still a bit of space to improve on myself, and the car as well,” Matsushita told Motorsport.com. “There’s no one specific part to improve, a bit of everything. Just the details.
“Last year I was driving the [Nissan] GT-R and we were a bit far, but now we can fight, I think. I don’t think anyone has their engine turned up at the moment, Honda also, but at the moment the feeling is good.”
- Matsushita ‘surprised but happy’ about Honda SUPER GT offer