Akasaka Grand Prix – Official Race Review 2 months after the Trial Mountain 2 Hour endurance race, another unconventional endurance race was held, this time on the famed and feared R246, set in the heart of Tokyo. 4 classes representing 4 established GTPlanet racing series was entered in the event, among these, one of the longest running GTP series, the BST V-Spec, and GTMSA’s GT300 class from their Super GT Championship. On paper, this looked to be one of the most diverse grids ever in an organised race. However, the race suffered from the absense of 5 people and almost an entire class, which severely impacted the sheer number of cars. The top fighters however did meet up to race, so let’s have a look at the starting grid, and we’'ll start from behind: And this truly is starting from behind. After failing to complete qualifying due to engine trouble, the Ferrari 458 Italia, piloted by rallymorten and driving in the BST class, would have to start from 9th on the grid. Nevertheless, he was confident for a top 5 finish. Starting just in front of him was the Mazda RX7 of the GT300 class, driven by ImmalovemaGTR, aka bmw123_. Despite the poor time in qualifying, he was hoping to be able to fight for a good position. One of GTP’s longest established spot racers, alefin in the GT300 Lexus was looking to take a top 3 in the class. He brings some experience from Trial Mountain, where he participated in a different class. Siggers, aka Sig1611, may be unknown to most, but this englishman in the Impreza put down a good lap in qualifying, and was hoping to be able to fight for the class win. But in order to do that, he’d have to pass LancerEvo7 in the Garaiya. He was already before the race called a favorite for a podium finish, and that's not just in his class, due to high downforce. Starting from 4th, buck1 aka buck_fast1 in the Lamborghini was another contender for a podium finish, and even though the outright speed was not enough in qualifying, maybe tyre saving would be the tactic preferred? Further up the grid we find the Global GT-Spec Ford GT, driven by GTracer98 aka Driverman447. He took a podium finish at Trial Mountain, and was hoping to take another here. Another GGT car took 2nd on the grid; the Nissan GTR Spec-V piloted by FordMKIVJ5, aka marunda. Being Nissans home event, the pressure was on him from the beginning. Could he take the win? Most people, though, put their money on this man. Gedi69, who won at Trial Mountain, in this very car. And he proved they may have been right about that, by taking the pole position. On a brief overview, the grid looked like this: Sidenote: adam46/duke_adam46 in the Honda Civic was forced to retire prior to the race due to technical problems. The race was to begin with a rolling start after a warmup lap, but an accident among the GT300 cars meant the race would instead start under yellow flag conditions, to allow the GT300 cars to go to the pits for repairs. On the following lap, as the grid was all set again, the race was off! And that’s with great action from the very get-go. gedi69 led the field to the start line, and the flag had hardly dropped before the first overtaking maneuvres were executed. The first overtaking being bmw123_ overtaking alefin by the help of slipstreaming. The top 3 would also pretty quickly separate from the pack, with gedi69 making the front figure, and marunda and Driverman447 in a hard fight for second place, without allowing gedi69 to get too far ahead. Already on the second lap, this lead to the first lead change, with marunda in the GTR using full slipstream and a bit of late braking to take gedi69 by surprise in the first corner. Gedi69, by friends known as Gedi the Jedi, fought back in the following corner, and by now there was a clear pattern: with cars this equal, it was a matter of pit tactics. The battle for the lead was a hard but fairly fought one, and certainly one of the most exciting situations on GTPlanet. Particularly when marunda for a second apparently forgot about saving tyres.. Coming down the straight again, there was less than half a second between P1 and P3, with marunda and Driverman447 as good as tied. Driverman447 attempted an overtake on marunda in the braking to turn 1, but he was too late on the brakes and ran wide, which almost allowed buck_fast1 to pass him in the process. And it would seem that far most of the action would take place in turn 1. Just the lap after, Driverman447 was back on a mission, and this time he managed to get on marunda’s inside and take 2nd. Despite his best attempts, marunda would not get back past Driverman447 within the first 10 minutes of racing, which leaves the results so far as follows: 12 minutes in, Driverman447 has taken the overall lead from Gedi69, who must now watch out for the GTR just behind. Back in the GT300 class, Sig1611 in the Impreza was slowly but steadily being hunted by alefin in the Lexus, while at the top of the leaderboard, Gedi69 once again got past Driverman447’s GT. A rather bizarre accident occured on the entry to the pits. The yellow RX7 hit the pit wall, and was forced to retire. Uninfected by that, the battle for first went on, with Gedi69 fending off Driveman447 and marunda. There was also an interesting battle of classes going on on the track. Rallymorten in the 458 Italia was unable to reach top pace, and was getting caught by the GT300 Garaiya driven by GTP_LancerEvo7. The fight for second in the GT300 class became much more interesting when Sig1611, 23 minutes in, suffered from understeering, and planted the car’s nose in a wall. This allowed alefin to pass, with Sig1611 now heading for the pits. The top 3 was still bunched up together by approach of the 25th minute, but Gedi69 and marunda was now both heading for their first stop, after marunda edged out a pass around the outside in the final corner. But, others would not even get this far. A little less than half an hour in, a technical problem in the 458 Italia meant an oil slick on the track, which caused for minor delays in the gaps between the drivers. But the racing didn’t stop, and GTP_LancerEvo7, who still had not been in for his first stop, managed to jump Driverman447 and marunda as they had been in the pits. The standings after half an hour: It wasn’t until 45 minutes in that the next great overtake took place, again by going for the inside in turn 1. Driverman447 took the lead from marunda. Marunda also made a major tactical error, by putting in another pits stop, after causing damage to the engine. As it is obvious on the picture, this allowed Gedi69 to get back in front of him. The crash itself though was a classic example of lag. In itself nothing unusual. Rarest sight of the week though was the Garaiya in the pits. It would take GTP_LancerEvo7 half the race before he needed a tyre change. Marunda would need another pit stop before the 1 hour mark after another collision. The victory was a long way away for him. Standings after 1 hour: With only 15 minutes to go, marunda was forced to do another pit stop, again due to engine damage. This stop allowed GTP_LancerEvo7 to get close to him. The battle at the top was as good as non-existant. Driverman447 was looking at a comfortable lead, leading 2nd by half a lap, marunda in the GTR by an entire lap. The last real battle was the battle for 3rd between marunda and GTP_LancerEvo7. The GTR was once again prone with engine failure, but he was trying desperately to make it home in 3rd. Unfortunately though, he had lost a vital edge against the GT300. Realising his defeat, he showed pure sportsmanship by giving GTP_LancerEvo7 plenty of room for the overtake. Everybody was fully aware they were approaching their final lap, and it was now just all about getting the car home. And at the end of the day, Driverman447 took the victory! And this is the final results: Gedi69 managed to defend his BST crown, but there’s a new king in town. Driverman447 had done an absolutely fantastic job all weekend, and it was a well deserved vistory for him. Gran Turismo 5 and the year 2013 is rapidly reaching the autumn, but the best of the best GT5 racers will have one last chance of settling the score before the great shift to GT6. The event is scheduled to mid-November, so make a note in your calendar; you will not want to miss the opportunity of being crowned the King Of GT5!