> Result: FP1
Alex Imperatori gave Nissan the perfect start to its home event at Fuji by topping opening practice for KCMG earlier today. And there was further Japanese success in the GT4 class where BMW Team Studie’s M4 beat Team iRace.Win’s Mercedes-AMG.
Newcomer Davide Rigon lead overall at the halfway mark but was swiftly demoted by Imperatori whose 1m38.207s ultimately proved 0.383s faster than his Italian rival’s HubAuto Corsa Ferrari.
Raffaele Marciello’s GruppeM Mercedes-AMG made it as many different manufacturers inside the top-three, while KCMG’s second GT-R NISMO shared by Florian Strauss and Edoardo Liberati underlined Nissan’s pace in P4.
Naoki Yokomizo’s APJ Motorsports-run Ferrari 458 might be a little older than its rivals but the Japanese driver - who won at Fuji last season - proved it remained a competitive package by completing the top-five, albeit 1.2s behind Imperatori.
Pro/Am championship leaders Marco Mapelli and Hiroshi Hamaguchi were next up ahead of class rivals Hiroaki Nagai and Kota Sasaki, while HubAuto Corsa’s second Ferrari rounded out the first eight.
In GT4, and following a breakthrough victory at Suzuka last time out, BMW Team Studie served notice of their intentions again this weekend by pacing first practice. Its #81 M4 shared by Takayuki Kinoshita and Sunako Jukuchou set a best of 1m48.118s to beat Team iRace.Win’s Gilles Vannelet and Ringo Chong by 0.231s.
Championship leader Reinhold Renger and new co-driver Hwang Doyun finished third.
The day’s second 45-minute practice session begins at 15:45 local time.