Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global
Super GT Okayama Testing

New Lexus LC500h off to better-than-expected start in testing

The brand-new Lexus LC500h SUPER GT contender made a stronger than expected start in last week's opening official test at Okayama, according to apr boss Hiroto Kaneso.

#31 apr LC500h GT

apr unveiled the successor to the hybrid-powered Toyota Prius PHV GR Sport back in January at the Tokyo Auto Salon, bringing back the Lexus LC nameplate to SUPER GT after a four-year absence.

Kaneso said at the time that, owing to the car's long wheelbase, he expected it to be competitive around tracks with high-speed corners such as Suzuka and Sugo, but less so at layouts such as Motegi and Okayama.

However, on the opening day of last weekend's Okayama test, Kazuto Kotaka turned heads with the sixth-fastest time aboard the new Lexus, a little over six tenths off the pace set by the #88 JLOC Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.

Read Also:

apr newcomer Kotaka and team-mates Koki Saga and Yuki Nemoto failed to improve on that on the second day as adjustments made to the suspension aimed at increasing cornering performance didn't pay off, leaving the #31 squad 11th overall across the two days of the test.

Kaneso said he was pleased that the new car made such a strong start at a track he expected to be difficult.

"I don’t know how hard everyone else is pushing, but the weight distribution was better than I imagined, which somewhat offsets the disadvantages of a long wheelbase," explained Kaneso.

"Okayama is a circuit where we are not fast, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s ‘super-bad’ for us. We are not that bad, but we are not that good there either. It’s not a circuit where we can win, but we can fight towards the top.

"It’s not a race to discard. I think we can score good points."

Asked whether he expects the LC500h to perform similarly well at Fuji, which hosts the final pre-season test next week, Kaneso replied: "Better than here for sure because there are more high-speed corners.

"The drag is high, but because we have the downforce, high-speed corners are good. The long wheelbase also helps us on that front."

#31 apr LC500h GT

#31 apr LC500h GT

Photo by: Masahide Kamio

Kaneso also reiterated that Suzuka remains the track where the new Lexus will be at its best, but despite the fact the Japanese Grand Prix venue hosts two races this season, the apr boss is remaining cautious on a title bid.

"It’s never that easy," he said. "The world doesn’t work that way.

"Without failing at any circuit, I want to maximise our potential at the tracks we are good at, and then I think the results will follow."

apr's other entry, the #30 Toyota GR86 GT, was 16th-fastest in the Okayama test in the hands of Manabu Orido.

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article JLOC Lamborghini team set for mid-season Evo2 upgrade
Next article The signs Toyota can still threaten Honda in Okayama opener

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global