Lexus RC F teams impress in 2016 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series
The Lexus camp lit up with celebrations at the Round 3 of the 2016 AUTOBACS SUPER GT 250km race held at the Motegi Twin Ring in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. The race was originally scheduled to be run at Autopolis circuit in May. However, due to the aftermath of the Kumamoto earthquakes in April this year, the location and date were changed. The rescheduling saw the Round 3 qualifier and race both held on the same day - a first in the history of SUPER GT.
The reasons to cheer were plenty in the GT500 class of the race as the Lexus line-up of drivers displayed an exhilarating performance, securing positions from the sixth all the way up to the runners-up spot.
Almost clinching the top spot was the No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD Lexus RC F driven by Heikki Kovalainen and Kohei Hirate, followed by Daisuke Ito and Nick Cassidy who gave their No. 36 au TOM’s Lexus RC F just the right amount of push for a podium finish in the third place.
No. 6 WAKO’S 4CR Lexus RC F and No. 19 Weds Sport ADVAN Lexus RC F claimed the fourth and fifth position, with ZENT CERUMO Lexus RC F closing the proceedings for Lexus with a sixth place finish in the exciting race.
It was a display of dominating performance from the Lexus line-up right from the get-go. The No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD Lexus RC F accelerated into the lead at the start of the race, with the No. 36 au TOM’s Lexus RC F following its tail in the second position, just ahead of the competitor No. 24.
Spurring a heated battle in the opening laps, an exciting four-way contest unfolded in lap 8 of the race with title contenders No. 6 WAKO’S 4CR Lexus RC F, No. 19 Weds Sport ADVAN Lexus RC F, and competitor cars No. 12 and No. 100 competing fiercely but unable to break into the lead maintained by the two Lexus teams. The battle continued with little change in positions till the 19th lap summoned a pit stop for most teams.
Leading the race at this point, No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD Lexus RC F headed for the pit stop in the 21st lap where Kohei Hirate handed the wheel to Heikki Kovalainen. Once it was back on the track, it realized that a swifter pit work from au TOM’s Lexus team had edged the No. 36 car ahead in the pack, now enjoying an advantageous lead in the race. No. 36 au TOM’s Lexus RC F and No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD Lexus RC F fought tooth and nail for the second spot, with Heikki Kovalainen coming within close distance of inching past Nick Cassidy who was holding the lead. After several attempts, Heikki Kovalainen was finally successful in lap 39 and now looked to overtake the competitor car No. 24 in a bid for the winner’s title. While he managed to pull up on the leader’s tail in the final lap, No. 24 held off the charge till the final moments of the race and went past the checkered flag. No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD Lexus RC F closed in with an inspiring second place finish, propelling the driver pair Heikki Kovalainen and Kohei Hirateto the top of the season drivers ranking with 61 points. No. 36 au TOM’s Lexus RC F celebrated a third spot to round up spectacular twin podium finish for the Lexus camp. Takayuki Yoshitsugu, Chief Representative, Middle East and North Africa Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation, said: “Round three of the championship witnessed a domineering performance from the Lexus RC F teams. It is a moment of tremendous pride and happiness to see two podium finishes, and witness an outstanding performance from the other teams who fought fiercely to earn their spots.”
Yoshitsugu added: “The insights from performances on the race track and the feedback from our racers are crucial in our efforts towards building ‘ever-better’ cars. Participating in motorsports and strengthening our performance in competitive events further enhance skill development in our human resources. The support of racers and fans is instrumental in driving us to greater heights of success. We thank each one for their support and congratulate the racers and our fans throughout the world.”
NEWPORT: In this Monday, Oct. 4, 2010 file photo, Europe’s Peter Hanson, left, and assistant captain Thomas Bjorn hold the trophy after Europe won the 2010 Ryder Cup golf tournament at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales. Bjorn is the first Scandinavian to be appointed captain of Europe’s Ryder Cup team. —AP