Lexus leads final Super GT test as Honda struggles

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Lexus leads final Super GT test as Honda struggles
Rachit Thukral
By: Rachit Thukral
Oct 9, 2018, 8:34 AM

Lexus set the pace in the final in-season Super GT test of 2018, leading home a pair of Nissans at Motegi.

Former Japanese F3 champion Kenta Yamashita lapped the 4.8 km circuit in 1m37.241s on Monday and the Bandoh Lexus driver’s time remained unbeaten after another day of running.

Daiki Sasaki ended up just 0.039s adrift of Yamashita in the Impul Nissan and over a tenth clear of the sister factory-run NISMO GT-R of four-time Super GT champion Ronnie Quintarelli.

The two TOM’S Lexus cars were classified fourth and fifth in the combined order, with the #36 entry beating the defending champions by less than two tenths.

Yuhi Sekiguchi, who scored his first Super Formula victory at Motegi in 2016, set a time of 1m37.467s on Day 1, slightly quicker than his teammate Kazuki Nakajima’s flyer of 1m37.610s that put him at the head of the order on Day 2.

Nick Cassidy, who sits third in the standings alongside teammate Ryo Hirakawa, was fifth in the second of the TOM’S Lexus cars.

Veteran Super GT racer Yuji Tachikawa made it four Lexus entries in the top six, driving the Zent/Cerumo LC500. He narrowly edged out the Kondo Nissan of Joao Paulo de Oliveira, which finished just 0.003s behind in seventh.

Less than a month after a 1-2 finish at Sugo, Honda was reduced to the third-best manufacturer, with Koudai Tsukakoshi finishing eighth in the best of the NSX-GTs.

The Real Racing driver led the Team LeMans Lexus of Kazuya Oshima, with the sister ARTA Honda of Takuya Izawa completing the top 10.

The Team Kunimitsu Honda of Jenson Button and Naoki Yamamoto, which retook the championship lead with victory at Sugo, could only finish a lowly 11th among the 15 GT500 cars.

Yamamoto was the faster of the pair, his lap of 1m38.081s being 0.840s slower than Yamashita’s benchmark.

The 2013 Super Formula champion beached his car in the gravel on Tuesday morning, but was fortunate to avoid any damage to his car.

There were few other significant incidents of note in the GT500 class, although the two-day test session was red-flagged several times due to off-track excursions involving GT300 cars.

GT500 results:

Pos

Driver

Car

Time

1

Yuji Kunimoto

Yuhi Sekiguchi

Lexus

1m37.241s

2

Daiki Sasaki

Jann Mardenborough

Nissan

1m37.280s

3

Ronnie Quintarelli

Tsugio Matsuda

Nissan

1m37.405s

4

Kazuki Nakajima

Yuhi Sekiguchi

Lexus

1m37.467s

5

Nick Cassidy

Ryo Hirakawa

Lexus

1m37.646s

6

Yuji Tachikawa

Hiroaki Ishiura

Lexus

1m37.723s

7

Mitsunori Takaboshi

Joao Paulo de Oliveira

Nissan

1m37.726s

8

Koudai Tsukakoshi

Takashi Kogure

Honda

1m37.844s

9

Felix Rosenqvist

Kazuya Oshima

Lexus

1m37.950s

10

Tomoki Nojiri

Takuya Izawa

Honda

1m37.980s

11

Jenson Button

Naoki Yamamot0

Honda

1m38.081s

12

Heikki Kovalainen

Kamui Kobayashi

Lexus

1m38.110s

13

Daisuke Nakajima

Hideki Mutoh

Honda

1m38.432s

14

Bertrand Baguette

Kosuke Matsuura

Honda

1m38.518

15

Satoshi Motoyama

Katsumasa Chiyo

Nissan

1m38.803s

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About this article

Series Super GT
Drivers Yuji Kunimoto , Kenta Yamashita
Author Rachit Thukral
Article type Testing report