Ok, So last November, i was priviledged enough to join the Petronas Syntium Team up in Oita Prefecture for their last round battle in the Super Taikyu Endurance Series.
Having already clinched the title in the previous round, this race was a much looked forwarded to end of season race for the team.
Oita mountainous regions houses Autopolis Circuit.
The Kawasaki owned 4.7km circuit accompanied with the weather conditions of the time of the year, and the upland area location means the atmosphere is thin and by god was it cold.
Petronas Syntium Team’s Malaysian Veteran Driver Fariqe Hairuman Shelters himself from the cold in the pit tents and puts some add on’s to his helmet livery.
The first few days were a blast. With splendid weather conditions. Clear weather for both practice and qualifying sessions!
Autopolis circuit hosted a slew of pretty nice looking honda sponsored safety/marshal cars.
There was also a dedicated smoking bus! Parked there right beside the loo!
Surrounded by the massive massive mountains.
Before it all, i embarked on a track walk with some of the young guns from the team.
All of which has not driven on this circuit before.
Also the two photographers shooting their pro cameras and millions of frames per second in front of them is none other than Larry Chen from the Speedhunters and Cheryl Tay, a revered female automotive journalist from Singapore.
The elevation changes of the track were gradual incline or declines which proved to be a task for the drivers after shooting out from sharp hairpin corners.
Of course, the team runs two Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3.
Other cars that competed in our class were a Speedracer Liveried Ferrari 458 Italia and Nissan GTR’ GT3s.
Now, as race day approached, The weather took a sudden turn for the worst.
The winds were so strong that it even blew the pit tent off! I had to stay in the team trailer without a heater, was literally freezing my ass off.
This caused problems as there were poor racing conditions. a slow and excruciating delay ensued.
After which we were all called into the pits for a meeting.
Here a little special panoramic view of the pit meeting of the whole team.
We were told that the race format has been changed. From a 3 to a 2 hour endrance race with 3 mandatory driver changes.
Grid girls were out in FULL force admist the fog and cold weather.
I Certainly do admire their perserverance, though i suppose they do get paid quite a fair bit.
Cheryl launching herself in a super camera taking position.
Some of the Grid Girls were luckier than not. They had more on.
And then it was on to the windy and wet track for the start of the race(behind the safety car)
The race started with foggy conditions all the way, and eventually ended with a red flag 75% in, we were unlucky this round and clinched a 2nd and 3rd place spot on the podium. Not exactly the best way to end the season.
Overall it was a eye opening experience for me there this race. And if you were wondering, i was handling the team’s social media pages!
Do follow them if you could!
Here are some of the instagram shots i took whilst on the trip!
After the race, we Scrambled to pack up everything and headed straight for the car as temperatures were dropping real quick.
Larry says, This way home!
We went down the twisty “Initial D” like mountain roads of Oita and headed for Fukuoka, afterwhich the whole team will disperse back to their own countries.
Well, Fingers crossed i’ll be able to join the team for their ventures next season.