Lexus holds 1-2-3 as Super GT testing ends
Lexus locked out the top three positions on the final day of Super GT pre-season testing at Japan’s Fuji Speedway.
Nissan set the early pace on Sunday morning, before Yuji Kunimoto rose atop the timesheets with a 1m28.887s flyer on board the #19 Bandoh Lexus that he shares with Kenta Yamashita.
That time would remain unbeaten after two hours of further running in the afternoon, but it was almost eight tenths down on what Mitsunori Takaboshi managed in the #24 Kondo Racing Nissan on Saturday.
Kazuya Oshima, who was the only one driving the #19 Team LeMans Lexus due to Felix Rosenqvist’s clashing Formula E commitments, was Kunimoto’s closest challenger in second, 0.373s behind the 2016 Super Formula champion.
Defending champions Nick Cassidy and Ryo Hirakawa finished less than a tenth adrift in third, with the Kiwi the faster of the #1 TOM’S drivers.
Jann Mardenborough was one of the few drivers who went quicker in the afternoon, setting a time of 1m29.409s to put his and Daiki Sasaki’s #12 Nissan in fourth position and the highest of the non-Lexus runners.
Joao Paulo de Oliveira and Takaboshi were not far behind in the sister #24 Nissan, although the Brazilian was the quickest of the two this time around.
Super GT returnee James Rossiter placed the #36 TOM’S Lexus in sixth position with a time of 1m29.575s, significantly quicker than his more experienced teammates Kazuki Nakajima and Yuhi Sekiguchi managed in the same car.
Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda were seventh in the #23 NISMO Nissan, only 0.011s clear of the best of the Hondas, the #100 machine of Team Kunimitsu.
Naoki Yamamoto set the fastest time for Kunimitsu, as Formula 1 2009 champion Jenson Button focused more on long runs ahead of the opening race next month.
The top 10 was completed by the #3 B-Max Nissan of Satoshi Motoyama and Katsumasa Chiyo, and the #16 Mugen Honda of Hideki Mutoh and Daisuke Nakajima.
The entire 15-strong GT500 field was covered by 1.5 seconds, with Honda occupying the bottom three positions as only two of their five NSX-GTs made it inside the top 10.
Nissan tops opening Fuji Super GT test day by 0.018s
Lexus now behind Nissan and Honda, fears Cassidy