The 2009 Super GT season kicks off next week at Okayama International Circuit on March 22nd. As with any racing series there have been a few changes in the rules, regulations, and teams, and Team Amemiya Racing is no exception. Actually, make that Team M7 RE- Amemiya Racing. That’s right, the team has changed sponsors this year, and with the switch comes an altered exterior. The new look is a departure from the simpler styles of previous Amemiya machines but, this correspondent is rather partial to the bold styling of this year’s rotary machine.
Back in September when the season had ended, Auto Sport magazine had thrown out the theory that the team may update their machine with the new RX-8 as its base in light of the mechanical failures experienced in the 2008 season. Well, Amemiya-san proved them wrong as he rolled out the stalwart FD for another year on the track. As far as we at Rotary News can tell, it seems the machine is practically identical under the hood, continuing with the 20B three rotor engine (that actually uses series 5 NA rotors), but this is merely an educated guess. As we get more facts about the machine, we’ll be sure to update you on the technical specs.
Changes in the pit don’t stop at the machine. Though Ryo Orime will be staying for his third season with the team, long time rotary driver Hiroyuki Iiri will be driving a Lamborghini Gallarado for the Japan Lamborghini Owner’s Club (JLOC). Replacing him is driving celebrity Nobuteru Taniguchi- a man who is no stranger to the 7, racing the No.7 Amemiya MatsumotoKiyoshi Aspara RX7 in the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
How will this new team fare in the 2009 season? Well, after two days of track testing, it seems that the team is ready to race in Okayama. After the first day of testing, the team was on the board with the second fastest time, just .153 seconds behind the 1st ranked MOLA Z. Not too shabby for a team with no factory backing. Though the second day wasn’t as favorable, putting them in 6th place with a 1’33.078 lap time, it does show some consistency for the machine and room for improvement on race day.
With little more than a week to go before the opening ceremonies, things are really starting to heat up for the new season. Here’s to the new M7 RE- Amemiya Racing team and their success in this month.
To learn more about RE-Amemiya, visit their website (Sorry, Japanese only!)