Reigning champion Sho Tsuboi led both days of testing earlier this month in the number 36 car he shares with Giuliano Alesi, posting a best overall time of 1m 18.116s on day two of the race.
By comparison, the number 37 KeePer-branded car was ninth on the combined timesheet, thanks to a 1m18.422 set by Miyata on opening day, some three-tenths off Tsuboi’s pace.
But TOM’s newcomer Miyata insists he’s not worried about the gap between the team’s two cars at this point.
“I’ve always had traffic in the GT300 class and I can’t do a good attacking lap,” Miyata told Motorsport.com. “I checked the on-boards and data, it seems the number 36 had a clearer attacking round and they gained some time.
“I think the No. 36 and No.37 have about the same potential. Of course, Tsuboi-san is the reigning champion and it’s my first time riding Bridgestone tires [so a gap is normal].”
Fenestraz admitted he “blew” his flying lap during the 10-minute race reserved for GT500 drivers at the end of Saturday, further clouding the picture, but is confident of the car’s race pace with the Start number 37.
“We never use the same tires as them [the #36]’ the Franco-Argentinian driver told Motorsport.com. “I think we’re there, we’re pretty balanced.
“Pure one lap performance, I’m still not able to put it all together and Sho has a lot of confidence from last year and he’s managed to put it all together. I think if we can do the same, we can be competitive.” .
“Sho is a bit ahead but that doesn’t mean we can’t reach his level. We’re just building up slowly and working hard to be at his level because Sho is really fast, he’s been flying.”
Miyata enjoys Bridgestone tires
Miyata is entering his third season as a GT500 driver, having previously driven for Team Racing Project Bandoh – the only member of the Toyota GT500 stable to use Yokohama tyres.
Apart from a one-off appearance with TOM’S in 2019 when he replaced the absent Kazuki Nakajima, this season is therefore Miyata’s first on Bridgestone’s benchmark rubber in the Championship.
Miyata admitted he was “surprised” by the performance on offer with the Bridgestones and also said he enjoys being able to share information with five Toyota teams on the same tyres.
“Yokohama and Bridgestone have a similar feel for a short run. I think the peak grip is about the same but the warm-up is so different,” Miyata noted of the differences between the two tire manufacturers.
“The main difference is the long term, Bridgestone is very strong and they always get strong results. The tire has no problem [even after many laps] and I can do fast lap times so I was surprised.
“Even with five Toyotas using Bridgestone, at every session we have information on what the other teams are doing, but in Yokohama we couldn’t do that. It’s very different from last season.”