This weekend is the first real representation of how the grid will shape up for my maiden Super GT season, with all 45 cars across two classes out in force at Okayama for two days of Official testing.
This year, I have the privilege of driving in the iconic Gulf colours with Gulf Racing Japan, and my first impressions of the team and car (a Porsche 991 GT3-R) have both been tremendous.
We have two days of tyre testing under our belts already, with plenty of new faces in the team including myself – the Kiwi gaijin – which translates to outsider but is a reference I use light-heartedly among a team of hard-working Japanese colleagues.
This hard work is intrinsic with the Japanese, and was instantly noted in my first day with the team. It’s encouraging to see an environment where things run to a schedule and clockwork – like they should at this level of motorsport.
This weekend’s test will be followed by a second two-day Official test at Fuji Speedway the following weekend. Fuji offers different terrain, a different circuit style, a different surface – in fact the only similarities between there and Okayama will be the chilly late Winter temperatures.
Not that I’ll be complaining, the flat six engine of the Porsche really loves this cold environment!
So, into the deep end we go and it’s going to be a mammoth year ahead for me. I’ve been working my way up to Super GT since 2012 and it’s exciting to finally have the opportunity to be a part of it.
While Super GT is my main focus, there will be other racing too. I hope to confirm my China GT plans – for instance – in the coming weeks with my friends at JRM, the defending Teams Champions.