This was my first opportunity to get in this Z, and for the most part it feels very similar to the #333 car I raced last year. The chief mechanic, Yano-san, is the most meticulous and passionate mechanic I have worked with so far - the car has been completely overhauled over the winter and it is gorgeous. He spent an unbelievable amount of time going over every detail of the car and has fabricated many custom parts. It was awesome to feel his pride in building this car as he went through explaining the various details to which he attended.
I've really hit it off with Nagashima-san, 長島 正明, the team-owner and my co-driver for this season. He has been racing since 1980, and is a very respected veteran both on and off the track. He has told me stories of how he's had 70+ lap driving stints in mid-summer at Fuji without water or a coolsuit before.
I met Komatsu-san, 小松 一臣, a potential third driver for our team, for the first time during the test.
The test went off without a glitch. I had never driven at Motegi in a production car before, although I had in the Formula Renault on several occasions last year. But I had the luxury to analyze the Motec data from this team's last year's race at Motegi. All in all I did 17 laps and was able to hit the top time for the team.
I have been able to start this race season with great mental and physical preparation, which has so far made driving consistently and fast very easy once I get to the track.
The season-opener for Super Taikyu this year is quite late - at the end of April, but I have a race at Fuji coming up in the FCJ series in a few weeks.
View the event photo gallery.