DOMINIQUE MELIAND AND THE SUZUKA 8 HOURS
Dominique Méliand, team manager of the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, gives us his view of the Suzuka 8 Hours.
“My team’s been taking part in the event for 35 years. The 8 Hours as such hasn’t changed all that much. But we’ve seen a huge change in the attitude of the Japanese riders; the way they approach the race. There used to be a lot of crashes in the past. These days they don’t fall, and that changes our view of the race. For example, European riders used to really suffer from the heat on this scorching, humid circuit, but we tended to forget that the Japanese suffered too. These days riders are better prepared for it, and know how to handle the sizzling temperatures. Riders aren’t knocked out by the heat anymore. And I think that’s just as important as all the technical and mechanical progress.
The Suzuka 8 Hours is a one-off event in the endurance world championship. We can’t really play on an equal footing with the huge official teams, because they prepare specifically for this race, whereas we have to rack up points for the championship.”