Sugo’s new pit lane exit branded as “dangerous”

The circuit in Miyagi Prefecture, which hosted the fourth round of the Super Formula season earlier this month, changed its pit lane exit as part of a major renovation of the pit and paddock complex, the first phase of which was completed earlier this year.

In addition to the widening of the pit lane itself by two meters, the drivers exiting the pit lane now rejoin the track outside the left-hand bend of Turn 3, instead of the short slide between Turn 2 and 3 Fall as before (picture below in 2020).

While the Sugo Super Formula race was uneventful, drivers noted the increased chance of collisions, with drivers exiting the pits who, due to poor side visibility, generally cannot see if cars are approaching on the track.

Dandelion Racing driver Nirei Fukuzumi, who won the race, told “I think it’s dangerous. Compared to turn 2, the speeds in turn 3 are higher, but if a car [exiting the pits] joins the track, you have no choice but to slow down.

“It is risky for a car to collapse on such a narrow stretch. Inevitably the person behind it [on the main part of the track] is the one whose job it is to avoid contact but when the driver is ahead [exiting the pits] is on cold tires, he has to brake early and that is dangerous. “

Nakajima Racing’s Naoki Yamamoto added, “When it comes to merging, the cars on the main circuit usually have priority, but you can’t see from the side of those cars so when I collide [exiting the pits] I don’t know if there’s a car behind me. “

Sugo will begin its second phase of construction in the 2021-2022 off-season, but before that, the track will host Japan’s other leading domestic series, SUPER GT.

Tomoki Nojiri, the Super Formula front runner who supports Fukuzumi on the ARTA Honda team in SUPER GT, said he hopes changes will be made before the September 12 race.

Nojiri told “For this race we had to work with what we were given and because everyone was careful there were no major accidents. But these changes have not improved security. So if no further changes are made it will be difficult.

“Most of all, I don’t think it will work for SUPER GT, which is coming to Sugo in a couple of months, so they need to make some improvements ASAP.”

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