Japanese-Italian driver Cozzolino set the very best time within the GT300 class throughout the two-day check within the Pacific Ferrari he shares with gentleman racer Takeshi Kimura, because the crew prepares for its sophomore SUPER GT season.
Final 12 months the squad confirmed flashes of potential, ending fourth at Suzuka and shedding a possible podium end to a puncture at Motegi.
However after a powerful winter of testing that additionally yielded the third-fastest time within the earlier Okayama check, Cozzolino informed Motorsport.com he believes that he and Kimura are able to take the subsequent step in 2022.
“In comparison with final 12 months we’re rather more ready,” Cozzolino mentioned. “Final 12 months was the primary 12 months for the Ferrari-Yokohama bundle, the crew was new.
“This 12 months we will construct on final 12 months’s expertise and we have now a greater mixture with the tyre. We have been additionally in a position to check at Okayama for a couple of days previous to the official checks, which we didn’t do final 12 months.
“It’s actually tough to see all people’s potential. We’re all the time flat out, but it surely’s laborious to inform if the others are holding one thing again. So I can’t be too excited till we get to Okayama.
“However we have been in a position to do a laptime quicker than we did in qualifying final 12 months at Fuji in Golden Week. So I believe we made a giant enchancment in comparison with final 12 months.”
Finest GT300 check occasions from Fuji:
19Pacific CarGuy Ferrari 488 GT3Kei Cozzolino1’36.142218UpGarage Honda NSX GT3Takashi Kobayashi1’36.230361Subaru/R&D Sport BRZ GT300Hideki Yamauchi1’36.611488JLOC Lamborghini GT3Takashi Kogure1’36.684587JLOC Lamborghini GT3Natsu Sakaguchi1’36.696See also SRH vs LSG- Lucknow Tremendous Giants’ Predicted Taking part in XI Towards Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2022 Match 12
Requested if he felt combating for podiums or wins can be viable this season, Cozzolino replied: “Sure, positively. That’s why we determined to do one other 12 months, and that’s why Kimura-san is working so laborious.
“Not too long ago he’s solely driving the Ferrari. He’s doing the Le Mans 24 Hours, he’s doing ELMS, we’re doing the Japan Cup of GT World Problem Asia… wherever we will race with a Ferrari, we’re doing it.
“We’re one of many solely Professional-Am groups in SUPER GT now. However in a approach it’s turn into a tyre administration collection – if you happen to get the fitting tyres on the proper second, and you are able to do a no-tyre change, then you definitely’re up there. If we gamble and get fortunate, we may win a race.”
He added: “We nonetheless have to work on qualifying. If Kimura-san can go Q1, that might be a dream come true. However I believe it’s practical with the automotive we have now now.”
Cozzolino’s pace-setting time at Fuji meant that FIA GT3 vehicles topped three of the 4 official check days, however at Okayama the GT300-rules vehicles (previously JAF-GT300s) have been accused by a few of lapping a approach off their final tempo.
Requested whether or not he felt that was nonetheless the case at Fuji, Cozzolino mentioned it remained tough to make sure of whether or not the ‘JAF’ vehicles have been going flat out.
“I may see they have been missing straight line pace,” he mentioned. “However it’s truthfully laborious to inform if they’re going flat out. I used to be additionally anticipating extra from the [Nissan] GT-Rs. It’s somewhat bit unusual, I don’t know in the event that they have been going flat out but it surely appeared like they have been struggling.
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“It appears just like the midship [GT3] vehicles, the Honda NSX and Lamborghini Huracan, are extra aggressive this 12 months, each on pure efficiency and race tempo. I believe it is going to be a superb combat with the Lamborghini and the NSX, primarily.”
The Pacific Ferrari may have an all-pro line-up of Cozzolino and Naoki Yokomizo for the season opener at Okayama on April 16-17 with Kimura unavailable as a result of a conflict with the European Le Mans Sequence.