SUPER GT Round 7 AUTOPOLIS GT 300km RACE LEXUS LC500 Sweeps Podium for Complete Victory

GT500 class

KeePer TOM'S LC500 No.1 with drivers Ryo HIRAKAWA / Nick CASSIDY achieved victory for the first time this season at the Autobacs Super GT 2018 series at AUTOPOLIS INTERNATIONAL RACING COURSE.

LEXUS LC500 swept the podium for the second time this season, with au TOM’s LC500 No.36 co-piloted by drivers Kazuki NAKAJIMA / Yuhi SEKIGUCHI in second place, followed by WedsSport ADVAN LC500 No.19 with drivers Yuji KUNIMOTO / Kenta YAMASHITA in third place.

GT300 class

K-tunes RC F GT3 No.96 co-piloted by Morio NITTA / Yuichi NAKAYAMA won their second victory for this season.

KeePer TOM'S LC500 No.1

KeePer TOM'S LC500 No.1

au TOM'S LC500 No.36

au TOM'S LC500 No.36

Ryo HIRAKAWA (KeePer TOM'S LC500 No.1)

Although slightly dissapointed with the qualification, as the rivals were monopolizing top three positions, we didn’t expect to win. We appreciate support from TRD and the tire manufacturer, and the team was able to achieve one-two finish because of everyone’s support, with good decisions for the pit stop timing. When I drove the last stint, we were able to pull ahead of the rivals, then race against No.36, and finally win. We are happy to tie for the championship at the moment, but we need to be careful. As in yesterday’s qualification, and also in other races, the perfomance of the rivals are very high, so if they run ahead of us, it will be a difficult race. But for the final race, our target will be to focus on No.100, and to finish ahead of them. Our car runs well at Twin Ring Motegi, so we would like to race with confidence.

Nick CASSIDY (KeePer TOM'S LC500 No.1)

I feel really greatful for the chance to be in this position. I think we had good perfomance, especially in the races. Thanks to my team TOM’s and TRD and LEXUS for providing us with a great car. During my stint, I had a good pace and I didn’t want to take too much risk. I knew to pass No.100 was important. We were worried about the tire wear, but I could manage to pass No.100. And when I got to No.8 and No.17, obviously we were quicker, but I didn’t want to make any damage or any touching, so I was careful. We had a great strategy and I knew I could give the car to Ryo and he can challenge, so that worked out and I am happy. We had experience last year, going into a tied fight in the last round, so that give’s us confidence. At the same time we know that the rivals perfomance is pretty strong and Twin Ring Motegi is quite difficult to pass. But I am also looking forward for the final race.

Kazuki NAKAJIMA (au TOM'S LC500 No.36)

As in last year, we were confident about achieving a good result in the finals. We expected that the rivals will run ahead of us in the beginning, and to catch up eventually. But we were surprised that soon after the race started, we had strength and were able to catch up soon and overtake. There are two sides for the safety car, one is the tire feeling recovery, and the other is that the created margin has all dissapeared. This is a race, so I understand it’s inevitable. It is the second one-two finish for the teams TOM’s, so we consider it was a good race.

Yuhi SEKIGUCHI (au TOM'S LC500 No.36)

I am happy for the team TOM’s one-two finsh. In the finals, we were expecting a better race than the qualification, but we didn’t expect to go this far. The car itself and the pace was good during the latter stint I drove. In the very end, there was an issue with the traction, but it wasn’t a big problem. We now took third position in the championship, so we will do our best for the final race.

Yuji KUNIMOTO (WedsSport ADVAN LC500 No.19)

Our strategy was to have two pit stops, as the track surface temperature was low, and we considered that all tire manufacturers would face difficulty with the pace. To be honest, we were afraid of just one pit stop. Our strategy was to get into a better position than P10, our grid position, but the safety car came in right after our pit out, so it was fortunate that the gap around 40 seconds was offset. Afterwards, the rivals had their pit in, so we were able to race in a fast pace, as the track cleared out. We had luck, but we are happy with the second podium this year.

Kenta YAMASHITA (WedsSport ADVAN LC500 No.19)

Our engineers came up with a wonderful strategy, so we followed this. The plan was two pit stops, so we started with less fuel to save weight. The tire and fuel situation was as planned and was under control. The second stint was slightly long, so it was tough in the latter part, but the pace was not bad compared to others. It was a good race, which will lead to our next race.

GT500 Class Result

Po No Machine Driver Laps Time/Diff Q WH
1 1 KeePer TOM'S LC500 Ryo Hirakawa / Nick Cassidy 65 1:56'02.296 5 47
2 36 au TOM'S LC500 Kazuki Nakajima / Yuhi Sekiguchi 65 0.436 4 40
3 19 WedsSport ADVAN LC500 Yuji Kunimoto / Kenta Yamashita 65 12.614 10 15
4 38 ZENT CERUMO LC500 Yuji Tachikawa / Hiroaki Ishiura 65 21.331 8 36
5 100 RAYBRIG NSX-GT Naoki Yamamoto / Jenson Button 65 21.628 3 61
6 17 KEIHIN NSX-GT Koudai Tsukakoshi / Takashi Kogure 65 32.944 2 40
7 24 Forum Engineering ADVAN GT-R Joao Paulo de Oliveira / Mitsunori Takaboshi 65 37.072 13 18
8 39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD LC500 Heikki Kovalainen / Kamui Kobayashi 65 45.462 12 36
9 6 WAKO'S 4CR LC500 Kazuya Oshima / Felix Rosenqvist 65 48.517 9 34
10 64 Epson Modulo NSX-GT Bertrand Baguette / Kosuke Matsuura 65 1'00.596 7 3

GT300 Class Result

Po No Machine Driver Laps Time/Diff Q WH
1 96 K-tunes RC F GT3 Morio Nitta / Yuichi Nakayama 61 1:56'44.520 10 24
2 87 LEGAL FRONTIER LAMBORGHINI GT3 Kimiya Sato / Yuya Motojima 61 17.228 9 6
3 34 Modulo KENWOOD NSX GT3 Ryo Michigami / Hiroki Otsu 61 26.403 7 13
4 55 ARTA BMW M6 GT3 Shinichi Takagi / Sean Walkinshaw 61 32.652 22 52
5 65 LEON CVSTOS AMG Haruki Kurosawa / Naoya Gamou 61 33.817 12 42
6 11 GAINER TANAX GT-R Katsuyuki Hiranaka / Hironobu Yasuda 61 38.939 15 37
7 5 MACH SYAKEN MC86 Y's distraction Natsu Sakaguchi / Yuya Hiraki 61 41.507 3
8 7 D'station Porsche Tomonobu Fujii / Sven Muller 61 46.262 11 28
9 10 GAINER TANAX triple a GT-R Kazuki Hoshino / Hiroki Yoshida 61 52.218 2 20
10 31 TOYOTA PRIUS apr GT Koki Saga / Kohei Hirate 61 53.254 28 45
12 60 SYNTIUM LMcorsa RC F GT3 Hiroki Yoshimoto / Ritomo Miyata 61 59.031 13 23
22 35 arto RC F GT3 N.Charoensukhawatana / N.Hortongkum 60 1 Lap 26 -
26 30 TOYOTA PRIUS apr GT Hiroaki Nagai / Manabu Orido 58 3 Laps 19 -

Drivers Standings (GT500)

Po No Driver Total
1 100 Naoki Yamamoto / Jenson Button 67
2 1 Ryo Hirakawa / Nick Cassidy 67
3 36 Yuhi Sekiguchi 55
5 36 Kazuki Nakajima 47
7 38 Yuji Tachikawa / Hiroaki Ishiura 44
8 39 Heikki Kovalainen 39
10 6 Kazuya Oshima / Felix Rosenqvist 36
12 19 Yuji Kunimoto / Kenta Yamashita 26
13 39 Kamui Kobayashi 24
16 39 Sho Tsuboi 15
18 36 James Rossiter 8

Team Standings (GT500)

Po No Team Total
2 1 LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM'S 86
3 36 LEXUS TEAM au TOM'S 75
11 19 LEXUS TEAM WedsSport BANDOH 41

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