Takuma Miyazono has been crowned the 2020 GR Supra GT Cup Champion, pulling off yet another strategic masterclass to secure victory.
As you’d expect at the top level, it didn’t all go his way, and fierce challenges from Brazil’s Lucas Bonelli, Spains Jose Serrano, and his countryman Tomoaki Yamanaka made him earn it.
With the COVID-19 pandemic scuppering any plans of hosting the event in person this year, it was all conducted online, and held across three races; two semifinals, and a world final.
Both Semifinal A and B were held at the Fuji Speedway, with 12 drivers per race. Only 6 drivers would qualify from each to make the final 12 for the world final, so the competition was understandably fierce for the final qualifying positions.
In qualifying for Semifinal A, Spain’s Jose Serrano took pole, from Rick Kevelham and Valerio Gallo. Asian GR Supra GT Cup winner Aleef qualified in a solid 8th position.
The start of the race was very clean, as you’d expect from world-class competitors. Serrano held his lead and would maintain it as the race progressed. Behind him, Gallo made a bold move on Kevelham for second place.
Gallo’s time in second was short-lived however, as he immediately overshot turn one, and was lucky to both avoid Serrano in the lead and also to hold onto third position.
The race was a tight one, with the top five separated by next to nothing, as the pressure continued to build. Some tight battles throughout ultimately didn’t lead to any position changes, but excellent racecraft was shown by every driver.
An incredibly tense race would culminate with Serrano winning from Kevelham, although Coque Lopez would pass Gallo for third right at the very end.
Behind them, Adam Tapai, and Giorgio Mangano would take the final two qualifying positions. Asian champion Aleef held onto eight position, putting in a solid performance, but it was not enough to qualify for the Final.
Semifinal B kicked off next, with Jin Nakamura on pole, from Bonelli and Yamanaka. Following a similar pattern to the previous race, the entire field remained nose to tail, waiting for someone to make a move or make a mistake.
For this race, the action all happened at the end of the race. A move by Bonelli on Nakamura lead to a similar move back, ultimately handing Yamanaka the lead and an all-mighty scrap ensued behind him.
Yamanaka would win from Bonelli, Nakamura, Latkovski, Miyazono and Okada, however, Nakamura would receive a two-second penalty for his move on Bonelli. That led to him falling out of the top six, and failing to qualify for the Final, elevating a fortunate Angel Inostroza into that position instead.
The racing then moved to the final – held at the magnificent Spa Francorchamps circuit. With the final worth double points, it was effectively a winner takes all contest.
Pole went to the in-form Serrano, from Bonelli and Miyazono. With this race being longer, strategy would play more of a role, with the first three choosing soft tires and everybody behind using a mixture of the medium or hard compound tires.
The race was more one of strategy and racing smarts, than outright action, as the first three pulled away due to their tire compound advantage.
Serrano led the entire way to the first pitstop, but this would provide a key moment in the outcome of the race. By leading, he was using more fuel than both Miyazono and Bonelli behind.
The defining moment came on the first pitstop, where Serrano and Bonelli chose to move from the soft compound to the medium, and Miyazono chose the slower hard compound.
Crucially Miyazono was able to stay in touch for the most part of a lap, and that paid major dividends towards the end of the race.
When Serrano eventually pitted to take the hard tyres, Miyazono jumped him to take the lead, and crucially for the championship, Bonelli passed Serrano as well.
Miyazono would go on to win the race and with it the title. Bonelli would finish second, and second overall, and an unlucky Serrano would take third.
The win marks the continuation of Miyazono’s golden run of form, having won the first World Tour of the year in Sydney as well. He was also part of the winning team in the Manufacturer Series, and the Nations Cup title as well!