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Miyata: RC F Felt “Completely Different” in WEC Guise

Toyota’s Ritomo Miyata says Lexus RC F GT3 lacked usual strength in high-speed corners in 6H Spa-Francorchamps…

Photo: Julien Delfosse/DPPI

Ritomo Miyata says that the Lexus RC F GT3 he drove in last weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship round at Spa felt “completely different” to those he has experienced racing in Japan and the U.S.

Toyota Hypercar reserve driver Miyata was drafted into the lineup for the No. 78 Akkodis ASP entry at the Belgian circuit in place of an absent Kelvin van der Linde, partnering Clemens Schmid (replacing an unwell Timur Boguslavskiy) and Arnold Robin.

The trio finished 10th in the LMGT3 class, giving the French outfit its first points finish of a grueling season so far.

Looking back on his second outing in the WEC, following his debut in last year’s 6 Hours of Fuji for Ferrari squad Kessel Racing, Miyata said one of the things that struck him the most was the RC F GT3’s lack of prowess in high-speed corners.

He last drove the RC F in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona with Vasser Sullivan, and prior to that he also raced the car for two full seasons in SUPER GT’s GT300 class in 2018-19.

However, the version of the car homologated for use in the WEC features a different aerodynamic package designed to put the car in a mandatory downforce window.

“I have experience of the RC F GT3 in Japan, in SUPER GT, and Daytona,” said Miyata. “There, the car balance was similar. But here, it was completely different. 

“Usually the strong point of the car is high-speed corners, because it has good downforce. When I drove it in SUPER GT and at Daytona, that was where we were strong. But here the car was really difficult to drive in high-speed corners, in sector two. 

“We were slow in high-speed corners. We also had more tire degradation than other GT3s. I don’t know why, but it’s been very tough.”

Miyata took the restart seventh in class after the red flag that halted the race with two hours to go, but slipped back to 10th at the checkered flag as different fuel strategies played out.

The Japanese driver explained that the RC F’s relative lack of straight line performance, plus some minor bodywork damage, made it hard to defend his position.

“Our straight line speed is not good, but also the car balance is not good compared to the other GT3s,” he said.

“I was taking care not to exceed track limits, which is another reason why the straight line speed was a bit slow.

“We had damage on the left-front side, the canard was gone. I don’t know where it happened, maybe there was contact with another car. We lost some downforce there.”

Despite those struggles, Miyata said he was glad that he was able to contribute to Akkodis ASP’s first points-paying result of the season so far.

“The positive thing about the weekend is we scored one point, which is an improvement from the results the team had before,” said Miyata.

“Of course we had some luck, but it’s a good moment.”

The sister No. 87 Lexus of Jose Maria Lopez, Esteban Masson and Takeshi Kimura ended up down in 14th, last of the classified finishers.

Jamie Klein is Sportscar365's Asian editor. Japan-based Klein, who previously worked for Motorsport Network on the Motorsport.cоm and Autosport titles, covers the FIA World Endurance Championship and SUPER GT, among other series.

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