Yamashita, who shares the No. 14 Toyota Rookie Racing with Kazuya Oshima, made the comments after this month’s penultimate round of the season at Autopolis after battling the Impul Nissan Z for fourth.

Although the Impul car shared by Kazuki Hiromin and Bertrand Baggett was running on a fuel flow restrictor, Yamashita struggled to hold onto his position after Hiromin made a mistake and went off the track in the closing stages.

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Fourth place was the minimum result needed to keep Yamashita and Oshima alive with their title hopes ahead of next month’s season finale in Mategi, where only a win from pole will be good enough to stay in contention.

Nissan, meanwhile, leads the decisive game with its first- and second-placed cars in points, and with that as a backdrop, Yamashita told Motorsport.com that Toyota has some serious work to do to close the gap with the new-for-2022 Z.

“At the moment, I feel like the Supra really doesn’t have any good points,” he said. “Now it feels like Z is particularly good in the corners so it’s tough and if we don’t improve in that area it could be tough in the next season or two.

“Essentially, it seems that the Supra doesn’t have enough downforce. It feels like the Z has more downforce and the Supra lacks front downforce.

“At Autopolis, for example, when the front tire wore down and the pace dropped, the downforce dropped even more and it became difficult. And even though downforce is low, top speed hasn’t improved either.”

Toyota revised the GR Supra’s front end during the offseason to increase downforce at the potential cost of the straight-line speed advantage the car enjoyed in past seasons.

But Yamashita believes Toyota has found itself in a situation where it lags behind Nissan in cornering and straight-line speed.

“At Autopolis, it didn’t feel like there was much of a difference in the high-speed corners, where downforce has the biggest impact, but we caught up in the low- and medium-speed corners,” he explained.

“And even so, the Z is faster in a straight line. The [Impul] the car had a limiter and was still able to catch up approaching turn 1”.

Toyota introduced the so-called ‘Spec 2’ engine from the fifth round of the season at Suzuka in August, which Yamashita said did not significantly affect the GR Supra’s performance, but he highlighted the engine’s improved fuel efficiency compared to last year.

“L“Last year we were completely outclassed in terms of fuel efficiency, but this year we seem to have improved,” he said. [one-third distance]but this year it got easier.

“But the horsepower impression is just normal, no faster than other manufacturers, so it will be difficult if we can’t improve it a little more.”

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