Kondo Racing driver de Oliveira has been at the forefront of the GT300 class since he joined the team in 2020, winning that year’s title alongside Kiyoto Fujinami, finishing runner-up the following season and then prevailing in a nail-biting climax to the 2022 campaign.
However, Kondo’s success has come against a backdrop of dissatisfaction about the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3’s Balance of Performance, particularly in comparison to the lighter GTA-GT300 machines that race against the FIA GT3 cars.Read Also:Nissan unhappy with GT300 BoP relative to Subaru
The GTA-GT300 technical regulations have been revised this season, but a more significant change is that there is now no requirement to change tyres for GT300 cars in the opening round at Okayama and season finale at Motegi.
In both 2021 and ‘22, it was mandatory to change all four tyres in the opening and closing races, when cooler conditions and a lack of success ballast would have otherwise made it more feasible to attempt to go without a tyre change (or change only two tyres) and make a shorter pitstop.
, and thinks that the relaxation of the rules is part of an attempt by the organisers to encourage a change in the competitive order.
“I think their goal is to shake things up a little bit,” de Oliveira told Motorsport.com. “It’s not great if one car and one team keeps winning, or gets close to becoming champion.
“There will be obstacles, whether it’s changes to the race format, or Balance of Performance. These things are completely out of our control.
“Of course there will be some cars that will not change tyres in the first race, like Saitama [Toyopet, which runs a Toyota Supra] and maybe a few others. For the GT3 cars, it’s more difficult.”
Saitama Toyopet is one team de Oliveira expects to benefit from the revised rules
De Oliveira set the 12th-fastest time in the recent Okayama pre-season test, best of the five Nissan GT-R teams present but still seven tenths off the pace.
On who he expects to be Kondo’s biggest rivals this year, de Oliveira said: “Considering where we ended last year, I think the Hondas and Mercedes.
“Several teams look better prepared this year. Car #4 [Goodsmile Racing] has been strong in testing, the #65 [LEON Racing] also. The Hondas were very quick at Motegi last year as well, so I expect them to be strong.”
De Oliveira added that he has been impressed by the speed of new team-mate Teppei Natori, who replaces Fujinami in the Kondo Racing line-up for this season.Read Also:Fujinami handed SUPER GT lifeline with Nissan reserve role
Natori previously drove for the UpGarage Honda team in 2021 before leaving SUPER GT last year in an ill-fated pursuit of a Formula 2 seat.
“Natori is very young, very fast,” said the Brazilian. “The main thing for him is making him comfortable and speed up his adaptation to the car, to the tyres and the way we do things.
“We are trying to help him as much as we can, but so far he has been quick.”2023-03-23T07:39:15Z dg43tfdfdgfd