“At Fuji, the feeling straight away was good,” the Italian told Motorsport.com. “Honestly, we weren’t looking for the laptime. We had many different Michelin tyres to test.
#23 Nismo Nissan GT-R: Ronnie Quintarelli
“My goal is to be ready to fight for victory in Round 2 [at Fuji]. We want to do well straight away obviously, but we are still working on the car set-up and Michelin is working on the tyres, and we have some development planned.
“For Round 1, we need to understand where we are. It would be nice to finish in the top five, and then fight for victory in Round 2.”
New GT-R "feels like a formula car"
Both Toyota and Honda also have all-new cars for the 2020 season following SUPER GT’s wholesale adoption of the Class One regulations developed in tandem with the DTM.
Quintarelli admits that introducing a new base model to co-incide with the new rules – the GR Supra – is an advantage for Toyota, but at the same time he reckons that this year’s GT-R is the best car Nissan has produced since the first Class One-based machine in 2014.
#23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R
“We knew since last year, when Toyota shook down the new Supra, and we shook down the new GT-R at the same time, straight away they were quick,” said Quintarelli. “And it was the same three years ago when they introduced the Lexus LC.
“But since the Class One regulations came in for 2014, this is the best car I have driven. It’s easier to drive; it almost feels like a formula car.”
#23 Nismo Nissan GT-R: Tsugio Matsuda, Ronnie Quintarelli
“We had an amazing period in the early 2010s, we won four titles in just five seasons [in 2011-12 and 2014-15],” the 40-year-old recalled. “Then In 2016 we led the championship almost all year, but we couldn’t achieve it at the last moment.
“Since then we’ve always been there fighting and at one point we’ve led the championship in each of the last three seasons. But it’s frustrating to go four seasons without the title.
“I think a few years ago we had some margin in terms of being a super-professional factory NISMO-Michelin team, but since then Toyota and Honda improved their way to work and now they are at the same level and small details are making the difference. I think we are still there at that level and we have everything we need to challenge.
“Nissan fans are not used to going five seasons without a title and they are putting a lot of pressure on us! And for me personally I really want to win that fifth title in SUPER GT. We are committed, we are ready, and we will do our best to bring back the title.”