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. He was the architect of the technology innovation platform with OGT! Racing #90 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in partnership with Freescale Semiconductor in 2012. In 2013, the Freescale Racing program moved up to SUPER GT with R35 NISSAN GT-R GT3.
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, 2013年はSUPER GTにて日産GT-R GT3でFreescale Racingとして技術開発を続きました。 応援よろしくお願いします!

Monday, May 21, 2007

FCJ - Twin Ring Motegi - rounds 5 and 6.

Rd.5 は雨で26位スタートで11位フィニッシュでした!

全体的にはとてもよかったです- 前、アクセルをOFFしても、最高27.3%まであいてた問題を最終に直せて、トップと一秒以内の差のタイムを出せました。



From May 17th through the 20th, I was at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Tochigi-ken for the 5th and 6th rounds of FCJ. The weather was extremely unpredictable throughout the weekend, with wet, semi-dry, and dry sessions on the track. The throttle problem continued to haunt the team despite having previously replaced the damaged butterfly and the throttle-body. Finally on the evening of Saturday, after the 5th round, it was fixed for the 6th round race the next day.

The 5th round was raced in the wet and I got the best finish so far - 11th out of 27. One more spot and I would have gotten a point for the series.

The 6th round on Sunday was held in beautiful weather and it was going quite well, despite my qualifying position of 27th, I got up to 16th through avoidance of a large crash and turning the event into an opportunity to pass more cars. However near the end of the race, with 5 laps to go, an accident befell me. On the downhill straightaway after the hairpin in the back, when downshifting from 6th gear to 5th under threshold braking, the gear did not catch and the transmission went into neutral. Immediately, the rear tires locked up due to zero assistance from the regularly expected engine-brake (since the engine was no longer connection to the axles) and as it sometimes happens with rear-tire-lockup, the car turned around 60 degrees to the left into the nearby wall, at around 200 km.

However, I for the first time got to an under-1-second gap from the top finisher in lap time and things are progressing quite well despite this setback.

Next up for FCJ is the next two rounds at Fuji in mid-June, so nearly a month off - during which I may drive in a F4 car for practice and will certainly be doing lots of go-karting.

On May 30th, Maejima Shyuji and I will be going to Fuji Speedway with the H.I.S. Super Taikyu Fairlady Z for a test along with a possible 3rd driver for the upcoming 24-hour race at Tokachi in Hokkaido.

Visit the new photo galleries for FCJ

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Super Taikyu Round 2 - Suzuka Circuit

The round 2 of Super Taikyu was held at Suzuka Circuit on May 13th. Maejima-san and I drove the H.I.S. Nissan Fairlady Z Z33 to 5th place in class. It's a good result to get the season going, but we had a few mishaps in the pits and I also need to pick up my pace by a second or so.

We qualified in 7th place and Maejima-san, as the starting driver, quickly picked off several spots and ran a good pace. By the 2nd pitstop, he actually got up to first in class, but an issue with a lug on the right rear tire made the stop extremely long.

By the time I got out of the pits, I was in 6th place with the BuddyClub Z on my tail waiting for an opening. As I was running on cold tires, this was a slightly stressful situation for the first lap, but then I settled into a rhythm and continued to put distance between myself and the car in the rear-view mirror. Then a car ahead pitted and we got up to 5th place. I drove for 29 laps and remained in the same spot at the finish line, with over a minute to the 4th place car ahead.

We have six 350Zs in the Class-3 category, and another two in Class-1, so NISMO conducted a photoshoot of all the entrants.

Next up is the Tokachi 24-hour race in Hokkaido in July. However, I have a few FCJ races in-between - going to Motegi tomorrow for this weekend's Rd. 5/6 for the Formula Challenge Japan series. I am definitely beginning to settle in inside the cockpits of these two cars and am looking forward to surprising more people.

Super GT - Fuji

I went to Fuji Speedway to watch the Super GT race.
Since Orido Manabu is racing the Eclipse Advan Lexus SC430 in GT500, we spent quite a bit of time in his area. Before the race, he performed an exhibition drift with Taniguchi Nobuteru. Orido-san drove his Toyota Supra and the drifting on the straightaway at what was probably close to 100mph was incredible - inches away from either side, cutting it at about 45 degrees each way.

The race had lots of excitement with a few cars catching fire and many familiar faces in the cockpits of the race cars. Inoue Shin from Zele International was also hanging out. The photo below is Yamada Kenji and me.
Yamada Kenji and Igor Sushko

Unfortunately Orido-san's Lexus blew an engine after running as high as 6th despite a 10th place qualifying position - he was really on a roll to the front.

But the race result was marvelous - the #23 Nissan Fairlady Z Z33 won with the #22 Nissan Fairlady Z close behind in 2nd. This puts Nissan at the top so far this season. The professionalism of the NISMO team is at the top within the GT500 paddocks, with error-free pitwork and flawless and cool-headed driving by the drivers - Michael Krumm, Richard Lyons, Motoyama Satoshi, and Matsuda Tsugio.

For the gallery, visit: http://files.automotiveforums.com/media/v/Events/SuperGT-Fuji-May2007/

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

How different racing can be -

The differences - Super Taikyu Class-3 Nissan Fairlady Z (Z33 350Z) and Formula Challenge Japan-spec Formula Car.

After the season-opening FCJ race at Suzuka in March, I hopped into the Z the following day for a few laps and I was completely thrown off - I was so used to the sweet feeling of the formula car that now driving a production car felt like this huge slow beast. You feel the weight shifting dramatically from left to right and back-and-forth, the car barely turns, and the brakes don't work.
Since, I've driven the Z a bit more and also got back into the FCJ car after the Hiland race with the Z. The readjustment to the two radically different driving styles is a huge challenge, but an interesting one - and an ability to manage such different cars is pivotal to being a great racecar driver.

The FCJ formula car - 600kg, open-wheel, and right-hand sequential shifter with ignition-cut wire (meaning I don't have to lift off the gas when shifting).
The Z - 1300kg, production car, left-hand H-pattern shifter.

FCJ - left foot only works the brakes, right foot only works the gas. Zero use of clutch pedal.
Z - primarily right-foot-braking and rev-match with the right foot while on the brakes, and left foot sometimes used for brake adjustment and the clutch pedal.

FCJ - no power brakes, no power steering. (Brake pressure applied by the foot is about 70psi)
Z - yes.

FCJ - incredible amount of downforce, allowing for up to 2.8 Gs in brakes and cornering.
Z - nearly no downforce, brakes and cornering at around 1.8 Gs.

FCJ - you get wet when it rains.
Z - it's got a roof.

FCJ - 40 minute races.
Z - 500km distance races with 2 other drivers, and one 24-hour race.

But of course, there are more similarities than differences - the biggest one being that both cars have 4 tires in contact with the ground and you have the controls to make the car brake, accelerate, and turn!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Racing racing racing!

I moved to Yokohama at the beginning of April, where I will reside at least until the end of this year to continue with FCJ and Super Taikyu.

I am extremely fortunate to be getting help from the local friends that I've made here. I especially appreciate Orido Manabu 織戸学, who some of you may know from drifting and also as a driver of the Eclipse Advan Super GT GT500 Lexus SC430. Mr. Orido helped me find the apartment here and is a wonderful mentor. It's crazy how we hit it off from the very first time we met at the local restaurant that he owns - 559 Yokohama.

Yamada Kenji 山田賢司, the owner of Sessions, a tuner company focusing on luxury car VIP customizations, has been awesome to me, especially since I currently do not yet have a street car here.

Itou Mirai, the former bartender at the 559 Yokohama, also lives nearby and has been helping me with the move.

Despite it being one whole month since getting the apartment, I only recently got the amenities like the tv, table, chairs, couch, work desk, and the like. It's still a bit empty but it's almost there. I got back to Japan on April 16th and had to immediately go to the Super Taikyu season opener at Sendai Hiland, which was then followed by the Motegi test for Formula Challenge Japan. I am still sleeping on a futon I bought at a local store as I have not had a chance to purchase a bed.

H.I.S., a renown travel agency here in Japan has signed up as my personal sponsor for this season's racing in Japan. This fact is already brining in a lot of positive attention to our activities and is a definite step forward.

Since the last update, we had the races 3 and 4 for FCJ at Fuji Speedway. I am taking a bit longer than I anticipated to get up to speed in this series, which goes to show how high the level of Japanese formula racing is for this generation. Every one of the 26 guys I am racing against are very talented, and I'd wager at least a few will make it to Formula One from here.

Following the FCJ race, after going back to America shortly, I went to Sendai Hiland for Super Taikyu. This again was a new track for me, and I have to say that all the tracks in Japanese are uniquely interesting and difficult, with a large variety of corners mixed with elevation changes.

For Super Taikyu, the team owner Maejima Shyuji and Miyakawa Yasuo are the co-drivers. Miyakawa Yasuo previously won the Carrera Cup championship in Japan and has even raced in Super GT GT300 in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Both of these guys are going to be great mentors for me this year, as they have decades of motorsports experience among them.

The conditions of the race itself were absurd - the 500km race slated for 124 laps was stopped at about 75 laps. Out of the 75 laps, the vast majority were under a full course yellow with a pace car because of the FOG!!!! The fog decreased visibility to about 50 meters, and in some places even less. It was like racing blind. When the rain came down a little bit, the fog immediately cleared up to allow for a few green laps, and then the fog would settle again.

We "finished" 7th in the class, although I am not yet sure how this race is going to be counted since it was stopped before the 85% or even the 75% mark.

Then a few days later I went to Tochigi-prefecture for the FCJ test at Twin Ring Motegi. It's so cool to be able to go to all these tracks after having driven on the in Gran Turismo and dreaming about once getting on them in real life. The first day was heavy rain, and the second day was pretty nice.

Unfortunately, we ran into a problem on the second day when most likely a small piece of rock hit the intake butterfly and made some big scratches causing the butterfly to remain open 10-15% despite zero throttle. So in essence, it's as if my gas pedal was stuck. It was definitely a worthwhile experience since this could happen anytime in racing. I had to continually adjust the driving style to accommodate this problem. I was behind pace due to this by a few seconds, but the braking proved to be very poor, with the continual forward torque to the rear wheels even during braking. This caused the front tires to lock up very early on, forcing me to move the brake bias to the rear, further diminishing the braking performance. The car actually accelerated with no throttle input at even high-rpms in 2nd gear!

Kagayama Masami and Tanaka Tetsuya have been helping me as advisers within the FCJ series and are very supportive of my progress. It's rather interesting how our current activities coincide - In addition to being the Nissan FCJ advisers to me, all three of us are racing Super Taikyu this year in Nissan Fairlady Zs, they are both in Class-1 in separate cars and I am in Class-3.

I have already been approached from an interested party in having me race in GT300 next year, which is exactly what I believe to be the right path - GT300 and F3 in 2008.

Right now, I need to settle down a bit and get ready to impress people on the track, just as I had done in the U.S. back with Skip Barber Formula Dodge and go-karts.

So far, everytime on the track has been a new adjustment to the environment, whether it be a completely different styled race car (1200 lb formula car to 3200 lb production car), wild weather, new track, or something other. Adjusting to all the variety of factors is quite overwhelming, but this is exactly what it takes to become the best - and I am ready.

Next up is the 2nd round of the Super Taikyu series at Suzuka this upcoming weekend. The following weekend is the rounds 5 and 6 of the FCJ at Motegi.

I am ready.