Jenson Button: Difficult to retain Super GT title

Jenson Button says it will be "difficult" for he and Naoki Yamamoto to defend their SUPER GT title, despite returning to the podium in last weekend's Fuji 500-mile round

Jenson Button: Difficult to retain Super GT title

The Kunimitsu Honda duo charged from 10th on the grid to finish second in the bonus-points race, accumulating 18 points to move up to fifth in the drivers' standings.

But Button believes the points advantage the championship-leading LeMans Lexus team has built, through back-to-back victories in Thailand and Fuji, means their title defence is now more difficult.

LeMans pair Kazuya Oshima and Kenta Yamashita moved 16 points clear of their nearest rival after the longest race of the year, and Button and Yamamoto trail them by 31 points.

Button and Yamamoto's season has been hindered by scoring just 11 points in the first half of the year, while the championship-leading LeMans crew has won two of the first five races.

"When we can get points, we get [on the] podium," Button told Autosport.

"So we've been very unlucky with three races, accidents.

"Yeah, [winning] the championship is difficult because the #6 [LeMans] car has 60 points. But this is Super GT, with the success ballast anybody can still fight for the championship.

"We go to Autopolis thinking about winning the race, we don't think about the championship. We go and enjoy the race, and fight for the win."

Button and Yamamoto were running second behind the race-leading NISMO Nissan of Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda when the second safety car had to be deployed for Jann Mardenborough's stranded Kondo Nissan.

Yamashita dived into the pits for the #6 Lexus's third stop right before the safety car intervention, and it elevated him and Oshima into the lead.

Button believes he could have scored his second GT500 victory if the LeMans Lexus team had not been "very lucky" with the safety car.

Button and Yamamoto were able to jump the NISMO car in the next pitstop and hold off subsequent attacks to finish second.

"We did the maximum for the car today," Button said. "Good drive by Naoki and myself. The team did a good strategy. We had a chance to win but the #6 car got very lucky with the safety car.

"It really was a shame. But we fought today very hard, with a lot of quick cars. We were able to beat the #23 NISMO [car], which was surprising. Very good job by the whole team.

"We are happy, but always a little bit disappointed when you know that you didn't have the opportunity to fight for a win. Maybe we wouldn't win, but the opportunity was gone because of the safety car."

shares
comments
Mitchell and Amici close in on Super Trofeo North America points lead

Previous article

Mitchell and Amici close in on Super Trofeo North America points lead

Next article

Kovalainen joins ex-F1 driver Hakkinen on Suzuka 10 Hours grid

Kovalainen joins ex-F1 driver Hakkinen on Suzuka 10 Hours grid
Load comments
The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever Plus

The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever

Had FIA GT boss Stephane Ratel had his way, the Maserati MC12 would never have been allowed to set foot in his series. It duly proved the class of the field that most had expected, but the Balance of Performance that its superiority spawned would keep GT1 battles tight and bring long-term benefits that sportscar racing enjoys today

GT
Sep 21, 2021
Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage Plus

Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage

The E-Type may be the most famous of all road-going Jaguars, but that didn't always translate into success on the track. After winning on its competition debut in 1961, motorsport success seemed an inevitability, but things didn’t turn out to be quite that straightforward

GT
Aug 6, 2021
Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60 Plus

Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60

It’s 60 years since the Jaguar E-type arrived and caused a sensation. As our resident racer Ben Anderson discovered when he got behind the wheel of two special racing versions at Brands Hatch, the thrill of driving them hasn't diminished over time

GT
Jul 31, 2021
The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat Plus

The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat

It's a significant achievement to win one 24-hour race in a year, let alone two, and with different manufacturers, but that's exactly what ROWE Racing did in 2020 at the Nurburgring and Spa. This weekend's German classic offers the DTM newcomer a chance of another unique double to add to its growing collection of accolades

GT
Jun 3, 2021
The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story Plus

The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story

The manufacturers were unconvinced – and even hostile – when Stephane Ratel launched GT3 in 2006. Now, 15 years on from its debut, they’ve sold more than 2000 cars and counting, but its continued expansion puts the increasingly globalised category at risk of losing its roots

GT
May 25, 2021
The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT Plus

The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT

With the Silver pairings that dominated 2020 now banned, Mercedes pair Yelmer Buurman and Ian Loggie could be in the box seat after winning last year's Pro-Am crown. But a swarm of Lamborghinis, with the defending outright champion among them, will ensure they face tough opposition

GT
May 21, 2021
How McLaren’s GT3 ‘single-seater’ defies expectations Plus

How McLaren’s GT3 ‘single-seater’ defies expectations

Time in a thoroughbred racer leaves you searching for time in yourself, especially when the rewards for total commitment are so high, as our man discovered at Snetterton

GT
Apr 28, 2021
How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy Plus

How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy

Raffaele Marciello once appeared to be Ferrari’s next Italian F1 star, but is now under the pay of its German arch-rival in GTs – and he’s very happy with his life

GT
Apr 8, 2021