Igor Sushko - Racing and Beyond, featuring Super GT and formula racing

Follow Igor Sushko's career as a racecar driver at the world stage. In 2006, Igor raced in the first ever Nissan Skyline GT-R to compete in a professional racing series in North America. In 2007, Igor competed in two series in Japan: Super Taikyu with Nissan Fairlady Z and Formula Challenge Japan - a high-downforce light-weight formula car. In 2008, Igor continued development in the FCJ series and managed many podiums in Super Taikyu C-3 Nissan Fairlady Z for H.I.S. Travel and Okabe Jidosha. In 2010, he was with Team Taisan in Porsche 911 GT3R in SUPER GT GT300 in Japan, securing a pole position at the Suzuka Pokka round of SUPER GT. 2012 is the most exciting year yet - technology innovation platform with OGT! Racing #90 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in partnership with Freescale Semiconductor. イゴール・スシュコのレーシング・ドライバーとしての生活についてのウェブサイトです。2006年はイゴールはアメリカ初、日産スカイライン・GT-Rを権威のあるワールド・チャレンジ・GT・シリーズで参戦しました。2007年はS耐久・C-3・ニスモNissanフェアレディZとFormula Challenge Japan(フォーミュラ・チャレンジ・ジャパン)のシリーズでレースしました。 2008年度はまたFCJでレースドライバーとしての上達をしながらスーパー耐久C-3でH.I.S.旅行と岡部自動車と共にNissan Zで多数の表彰台を掴みました。 2010年はSuper GT GT300でTeam Taisan Porsche 911 GT3Rでレースしました。 2012年はOGT! Racing #90よりポルシェ・カレラ・カップでフリースケール・セミコンダクタと共に次世代技術開発に取り組みます。 応援よろしくお願いします!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

OGT! Racing – Technology Innovation is Why We Race!

The 2012 OGT! Racing program in the Porsche Carrera Cup Japan series brings together Freescale innovation with the R&D and marketing platforms offered by professional motorsport. We are working with various technology partners. Tokyo University is looking to improve medical research with Freescale’s biometric technology. On the marketing side we have already succeeded in picking up positive media exposure following our win in the opening race of the season. The program is still in its infancy and we’d appreciate your feedback, ideas, and leads. 
The World of Motorsport – Striving for Maximum Efficiency 

Racing has always been at the forefront of intense competition and technology innovation. The most efficient overall program that takes full advantage of the rules, wins. Motorsport serves as a technology development platform for the core aspects of consumer vehicles. 

The first electronic active suspension systems were developed in motorsport. Porsche is one of the first to transition this technology to production sports cars with the current iteration of the 991-generation Porsche 911. The system is called Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC). 

On the green technology side, 24-hour endurance races require maximum fuel efficiency balanced with power-output. Therefore, manufacturers around the world develop new fuel efficient engine technologies for motorsport to empower production cars afterward. 

Formula One is constantly on the cutting edge of new technology and the current Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) is by far the most efficient hybrid technology in the world. The McLaren team has built their KERS system on Freescale silicon. 

Race cars must also be built to be as durable and light as possible, which is why the motorsport industry was the first to adopt carbon-fiber materials in the 80’s. The aerospace industry is now the largest buyer of carbon fiber because the material proved its effectiveness in motorsports.

There are so many aspects of this OGT! Racing program that get us excited, and we would like to share each one with you. 

Freescale Technology

As this is a new technology R&D project, we must keep the details confidential for the time-being, but here is the basic outline of what we plan to introduce.

There are four main components in this project that span all four of the Freescale business segments.
  1. Driver biometrics: we will be placing an array of Freescale sensors on the driver’s body.
  2. Vehicle telemetry: including steering angle, brake pressure, lateral and longitudinal G-forces, speed, RPM, throttle application, and all of the engine’s vitals. The data-logging unit is powered by Freescale chip.
  3. Onboard video and other video technologies.
  4. All of the above data will then be live-streamed to a world-wide consumer audience using 3G/LTE technology with an intuitive user interface.
What is absolutely fantastic is that every piece is powered by Freescale – biometric sensors (industrial segment), vehicle telemetry data aggregation and video (automotive segment), streaming of all of the data via Freescale-powered LTE basestations (networking segment), plus we hope to make an even more advanced GUI accessible via Freescale-powered smart connected devices (consumer segment). The convergence of all of the segments within one project is revolutionary and demonstrates the unrivaled scope of Freescale solutions.


Race 1 at Okayama International Circuit – March 31st 


Our race team of mechanics and engineers is KTR – located next to Fuji Speedway. KTR is by far the most advanced and experienced Porsche race team in Japan, and we have a sister team operated by the same group of people in the SUPER GT series – the factory Hankook tire team, #33 Porsche 911. We were paired with KTR as a result of Porsche Japan’s direct instructions to ensure maximum opportunity for success on the track.



The competition vying for series championship is intense, especially with a winning former SUPER GT GT500 Toyota factory driver and well-known Porsche racing ‘expert,’ and a young driver that has come up through the same open-wheel driver development program as myself , funded by Honda, Nissan, and Toyota (Formula Challenge Japan).

We had a two-day test at Fuji Speedway mid-March. Despite having been out of the racecar car for over 18 months, thanks to great teamwork we topped the charts as the fastest car.


The race weekend began with challenging weather as rain poured for Saturday morning qualifying. We were able to qualify in 2nd place for the afternoon race. The unpredictable weather continued and it even hailed at one point!  As all the cars moved to the grid, with heavy clouds hanging over us but strong winds drying the track rapidly, our team was the first to make a decision to start the race on dry tires. This was a severely risky maneuver as the race is only 15 laps (~25 minutes). 


We were essentially doomed had rain resumed because slick tires have zero ability to disperse water and must reach very high temperature to generate any kind of grip. Driving on dry tires on a wet track is like walking on ice in leather-soled shoes, at 160mph. Several other teams followed our lead, and the race got under way. Luck was on our side as strong winds continued to rapidly dry the track, and as the race played out, it was clear that anyone not on dry tires was out of competition for the win, so long as rain did not come back.


Tire management is a critical component in racing, as tire temperatures and tire pressures can easily rise beyond optimum operation, resulting in a severe decrease in grip. Cars on wet tires had the upper hand at the start of the race, but that situation quickly reversed, as I passed two cars in front, with only the GT500 veteran left to pass, also on dry tires, for the win. Once the Michelin tires were ‘on,’ we quickly closed the gap and patiently waited for an opportunity. It came a few laps later when we were lapping traffic that had stayed with wet tires, resulting in an easy and safe pass. After that, we continued to expand our lead, and our first goal of securing a win for this racing program in its debut race became a reality. 





Branding


This program is the perfect storm – an exciting technology innovation platform that will be experienced by thousands via our live-streaming technology. OGT! Racing’s message will reach far beyond just the interviews and articles in the media. Pair this with a winning program and our momentum is compelling. The opportunity to co-brand with global leaders and Freescale partners, like Porsche and Michelin helps us differentiate Freescale from the competition in a meaningful way – this is a branding exercise supported by our solid backbone of new technology activation that can benefit end-users.




Call to Action
Please join our OGT! Racing community on Facebook and click “Like”: https://www.facebook.com/ogtracing


Here is a direct link to the photo gallery from the race:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.380525988645133.91640.347248715306194&type=3
and from the hospitality:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.378440222187043.91230.347248715306194&type=3

Friday, March 23, 2012

2012 - Most Exciting Yet!

I am happy to announce that I will be racing in the Porsche Carrera Cup Japan series this year. Team: OGT! Racing. Sponsors include: Freescale Semiconductor, Avnet, Toyotsu Electronics, and Tokyo Electron Device. This is a collaborative R&D project covering semiconductor applications in automotive, medical, networking, and consumer segments. Stay tuned for some brand new things you've likely never seen before! Furthermore, we plan on working with academic/medical institutions to advance research in biometrics.
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Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. produces and designs embedded hardware, with 17 billion semiconductor chips in use around the world. The company focuses on the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets with its product portfolio including microprocessors, microcontrollers, digital signal processors, digital signal controllers, sensors, RF power ICs and power management ICs. The company also holds an extensive patent portfolio, including approximately 6,100 patent families. In addition, the company offers software and development tools to enable complete solutions and to support product development.
The company is headquartered in Austin, Texas with design, research and development, manufacturing and sales operations in more than 20 countries.

=================

To put all of this in layman's terms - Freescale manufacturers an enormous portfolio of microchips that have applications in virtually anything that has electricity - TVs, remotes, ECUs, G-sensors, powertrain, network basestations, e-readers, cameras, medical sensors, and the list goes on. Freescale is the spin-off entity of the original Motorola Semiconductors division, created in 2004. It has a long history of being in the forefront of innovation.

I recommend full sound from your speakers for this:




As part of the 2012 program, Freescale Semiconductor Japan is a series sponsor of Porsche Carrera Cup Japan - allowing for close collaboration, as Porsche is also of course a Freescale customer. Another fantastic opportunity is the fact that Michelin is the spec-tire used in the series. Freescale works with Michelin on joint R&D in areas like active suspension and other innovations.

As I have been preparing this 2012 program for the last 1.5 years, I actually had not had a chance to be back on track in a racecar since the summer of 2010 (SUPER GT GT300 - Taisan Porsche).
Our race team garage for 2012 is KTR - the factory Hankook Tire team in SUPER GT racing in a Porsche 911 GT3R. This is hands down the best Porsche team in Japan and I am excited to be working with them this year.



Now... to on-track news.


Our team has one of six 2012 997 GT3 Cup cars allotted to Japan - and what a fantastic car it is!

Compared to the SUPER GT GT300 Taisan Porsche - the Cup cars actually have a higher top speed due to more power output and significantly less downforce. So in comparison the car naturally suffers in braking zones and mid-corner speed. The top speed however, with some tailwind at Fuji Speedway, is 285km/h (180mph).



The official pre-season test at Fuji Speedway for Porsche Carrera Cup took place on March 15 and 16.

The entire first day was spent on finding the right balance on the car, and so was the morning of the second day.

Here is onboard from day 1 - the car was rather uncooperative and it was very forced driving. This is 1:45.4 lap time.


Unfortunately I can't go into much detail about the setup changes at this point since this is a spec-series - all competitors are racing in identical cars.

For the last session on day 2, I felt pretty happy with the resulting setup and we threw on a new set of tires for a qualifying simulation.
The result - top time out of all of the PCCJ drivers! Time: 1:44.1 shaving off 1.3 seconds from day 1 in a car that's become just a pleasure to drive.


Porsche Carrera Cup Japan 2012 Race Calendar

Official Testing March 15-16 Fuji Speedway 4.563km
Rd.1|2 March 31 - April 1 Okayama International Circuit 3.703km with SUPER GT
Rd. 3 May 3-4 Fuji Speedway 4.563km with SUPER GT
Rd. 4|5 June 9-10 Fuji Speedway 4.563km One Make Festival
Rd. 6|7 July 28-29 Sportsland SUGO (Sendai) 3.704km with SUPER GT
Rd. 8 September 8-9 Fuji Speedway 4.563km with SUPER GT
Rd. 9 October 5-7 Suzuka International Racing Course 5.807km with Formula One Japan Grand Prix
Rd. 10|11 October 27-28 Twin Ring Motegi 4.801km with SUPER GT

See you there!

Team/Sponsors:
OGT! Racing (Twitter Account here)
Freescale Semiconductor Japan
http://www.freescale.com
Avnet Japan
Toyotsu Electronics
Tokyo Electron Device

Special Thanks:
5Zigen / ARD Racing Suits
Arai Helmet

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Looking forward to a bright future after the Japanese earthquake

The earthquake and the ensuing tsunami on March 11th off of the coast of Sendai is a tragedy of monumental proportions.

While we all anxiously await the full consequences of this natural disaster, I can say with pride that the Japanese people are the most prepared and capable of handling the reconstruction that will take place.

United we will heal and united we will persevere!
We will not only rebuild but also demonstrate to ourselves and to the world the true Japanese spirit.

This is Japan!

Here are a few ways you can help, even from halfway across the world:

Visit http://www.Redcross.org/ or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone.

International Medical Core is providing emergency medical response, visit http://www.Internationalmedicalcorps.org/. Text MED to 80888 from any mobile phone to give $10.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Super GT GT300 - Suzuka Pokka 700KM Race - Pole Position!

Super GT Official Tire Test at Fuji (Attendance: Interestingly, by my eyeball count, the number was easily in the thousands, with crowding in the pit area)

Two weeks before the race, we tested new Yokohama Advan compounds and structures at Fuji Speedway - and the results were great - all thanks to Yokohama.

Super GT Rd.6 - Suzuka Pokka 700KM (Attendance: 33,000 people)

Now this was a completely different animal. Armed with new Yokohama tires, we were ready to roll. Beginning with the morning session on Saturday, we were 10th, with lots of room to improve, as I had to interrupt my attack on fresh tires to change settings to ensure we got everything done on time.

Igor Sushko - #26 Taisan Porsche | 2010 Super GT GT300

For this race, since it's 700km, we had a 3rd driver - Mitsuyama with us.

In the second session, we were comfortably in 2nd.
Qualifying was F1-type knockdown system. Top 16 from Q1 go to Q2, and Top 10 from Q2 proceed to Q1 for pole position fight. Each session is 10 minutes, which is good for 3 flying laps.

In Q1, we posted 2:08.3, for 3rd position. In Q2, we posted 2:08.3 again for 4th position, and in the Pole Position shootout Q3, we got 2:07.4, good for pole by a whole second!

The feeling was awesome! Finally.

Igor Sushko - Pole Position
Igor Sushko - #26 Taisan Porsche | 2010 Super GT GT300 Pole Position

Mitsuyama started the race, but the tires degraded a bit quicker than anticipated and he ended up having to pit 11 laps earlier than scheduled at lap 19. He had a minor collision with #25 Porsche in the Gyaku-bank corner, but it was only cosmetic, like the one I had back at Fuji. He pitted and I got into the car for my 30 lap stint - harnesses: done, radio connection: done, coolsuit connection: done, drink connection: done, main switch: on, clutch: in - ready to roll. But.... I am not getting the signal from the team to go... I see mechanics running around and in the mirror they are applying duct tape to the left rear (where our car got hit). It felt forever - and it was... 30 seconds.

Finally I am given the order to go and so I do, with plenty of wheel spin to get the tires up to temp asap.
With this time loss, I was about 13th at the pitout. It was an interesting stint - as the crew chief got on the radio after the first complete lap and said "Igor! That lap was too fast! We need the tires to last 30 laps. You need to slow down." (but of course in Japanese) I did already have that in mind after seeing the previous stint end in just 19 laps - but I made even more extra care of not using up all the grip of the tires early by avoiding any sliding of the rear, and actually going just a little slower and smoother than I'd like in the Esses. The Esses consist of 5 turns - left, right, left, right, and left - one immediately followed by the next, with mid-corner speeds ranging from 120mph to 75mph - which just builds a ridiculous amount of heat in especially the rear tires in case of our setup. With regards to sliding - whenever the tires have too much slip-angle - the difference between the angle of where the tires point and where the car is actually going, an extreme amount of heat gets built due to the tires' resistance, which leads to shorter life.

Igor Sushko - #26 Taisan Porsche | 2010 Super GT GT300

Still, I steadily passed cars and got up to 7th, with 27 seconds to the top at 44, giving us plenty of chances to get back up to top, especially since the race is so long.

Then on lap 27 of the stint, with just a few laps to go until my stint is over, a pack of GT500-class cars appear in the mirror and are eager to pass. At the entry into the 3rd S-turn (left-hander), I have #23 NISMO GT-R diagonally to my right, so I take a long apex at the very edge of the track - all the way on the zebra, to make it easier for him to pass me on the right. He goes for it, but before the pass is done, he swings his car to the left, and his left rear hits my right front. He spins, and my front suspension arm breaks, all the while I am trying to avoid hitting him as he is spinning in front of me.

I limp the car back to the pits. The awesome Taisan crew gets to work on fixing the car, but... our race is done.

It was a crazy weekend - from the incredible high of Pole Position, to the unfortunate crash on Sunday morning, to the crew fixing the car by race-time, to the loss of 30 seconds in the pits after running at the top, to regaining lots of that time and seeing a possible win again, and to getting taken out of the race by an overly eager maneuver by another car from another class....

But, next up is Fuji 300KM on September 12th. We've definitely got a good chance to repeat the pole and this time around - finish the race - hopefully ahead of everyone.

Igor Sushko - #26 Taisan Porsche | 2010 Super GT GT300

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Super GT GT300 Fuji and Sugo Races

Super GT Rd.3 - Fuji Speedway 400KM (Attendance: 53,100 people)
Fuji Speedway
Our 3rd race of the season was held at Fuji Speedway. This is a track that heavily favors our car's characteristics - since the Taisan Porsche sacrifices downforce for higher top speed.

Igor Sushko in #26 Taisan Porsche | 2010 Super GT GT300

We had 1 hour and 30 minutes of practice/setup time before qualifying, and so I got in the car first to determine the direction of necessary setup changes. First lap out, the brakes clearly had a problem - the pedal would go to the floor and the total braking force was down and the pedal just continued to be unpredictable. I got back into the pits and our mechanics started checking things out. Unfortunately, this was not something that we could fix in a few minutes so we opted to continue testing. Despite this, I put the fastest lap time in at that time of the practice session of 1:44.9. The braking problem got progressively worse throughout the session but the setup that our team brought was really good - excellent balance, allowing us to run a consistent fast time.

After the test session ended, the team got on fixing the brake issue, which turned out to be a problem with suspension on the left rear.

Igor Sushko in #26 Taisan Porsche | 2010 Super GT GT300

Next came qualifying. The first qualifying session is more of another test session in Super GT since the drivers need to simply pass a time threshold. I ended up with a time of 1:44.4, which was just shy of getting us into top 10 for the Super Lap Battle.

I started the 400km race, and in my stint got up to 5th position, but stayed out the longest of all in our class (39 laps) for our strategy to work. The last several laps ended up hurting us since the left rear tire completely broke down to the point of the inside structure showing.

Igor Sushko in #26 Taisan Porsche | 2010 Super GT GT300

Then my co-driver Ueda got in the car, but the pit stop took longer than we hoped for as GT Officials required that duct tape applied to the right side of the car due to a minor collision that I had around lap 30 when ARTA Garaya pinched me as I was passing it into A-Corner, with a 1.5-second-per-lap faster pace.

My 2nd stint in the car after Ueda was only about 12 laps to finish off the race distance. At pitout, I was 1 lap down from the race leaders - 2 cars right in front of me. So I passed both of them (Yellow Corolla Axio and Orange ARTA Garaiya) to get back on lead-lap, and afterward I was about 3-4 seconds in front of them running at the same pace.

All of a sudden I saw a blue flag (let the leaders behind you through), at one of the corners, and radioed my team to ask them what to do, since the flag was a bit absurd as I had just passed them and they were not gaining on me. I saw the blue flag twice that race over a period of two laps at exactly the same post in sector 3 - and nowhere else. So I opted to ignore it since there was no communication back from the pit (strategically). We finished 10th to get 1 point - with passes at the very last few laps.

We did not get penalized by race officials. But GT (Super GT itself) opted to give me penalty points for ignoring the blue flag. Grey area....

Super GT Rd.5 - Sugo (Attendance: 27,000 people)
Sportsland Sugo

#26 Taisan Porsche | 2010 Super GT GT300

As a result of the GT-imposed penalty at Fuji, I was unable to partake in the first hour of the hour-and-a-half of testing on Saturday morning - the only time we get before qualifying.
Beside that, it was a relatively uneventful weekend. On Saturday, we qualified 15th.

Igor Sushko - #26 Taisan Porsche | 2010 Super GT GT300

I started the race, and gradually gained positions maintaining a good pace. There were a couple of retirements that also helped us. While running in 7th, on lap 29, which was my pit-in lap to end the stint, right on the straightaway - the engine just died. I tried to restart it using multiple methods but none of them worked. I parked the car out of the way at the hairpin and continued communicating with the pits and trying to get the engine back on. Finally, after more than 2 minutes, I got the engine running. Got back to the pits, changed drivers, and Ueda was on his way - but the race was over - no way we could regain the 2 laps we lost.

Igor Sushko - #26 Taisan Porsche | 2010 Super GT GT300