Big ti­tle win for Cas­sidy in Ja­pan

Motor Equipment News - - MOTOR SPORT - By Ross MacKay. Photos cour­tesy Lexus.

Kiwi Nick Cas­sidy has won Ja­pan’s premier mo­tor rac­ing cham­pi­onship, the Su­per GT series, after fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the fi­nal round at Twin Ring Motegi on Sun­day Novem­ber 12 in his Lexus LC500.

Cas­sidy, a for­mer NZ kart cham­pion and three­time win­ner of the NZ Grand Prix, and his co-driver Ryo Hi­rakawa fin­ished just over six sec­onds be­hind the 2014 and 2015 cham­pi­ons Tsu­gio Mat­suda and Ron­nie Quintarelli in the 53 lap, 250 kms race.

They went into the week­end with a six points lead over fel­low Lexus driv­ers Kazuya Oshima and An­drea Cal­darelli, who slipped back to third in the series.

Twenty-three-year-old Auck­lan­der Cas­sidy and Hi­rakawa won the open­ing round of the cham­pi­onship in April and also the penul­ti­mate race in Thai­land last month.

In his de­but in the cham­pi­onship last year, Cas­sidy fin­ished fifth over­all with a dif­fer­ent co-driver.

His ef­forts this year saw him fin­ish ahead of Heikki Ko­valainen, the ex-For­mula One driver, who won 12 months ago.

While they slipped to third in the series at one point, Cas­sidy and Hi­rakawa’s con­sis­tency has been re­warded with the ti­tle, as they fin­ished seven of the eight rounds in the top six, de­spite car­ry­ing hand­i­cap bal­last and then a fuel flow re­stric­tion be­cause of their early sea­son suc­cess.

Cas­sidy joins a small se­lect group of for­eign driv­ers to take the pres­ti­gious ti­tle, a group which in­cludes triple Le Mans 24 Hours race win­ner An­dre Lot­terer.

Kiwi Nick Cas­sidy driving his 2017 Ja­pan Su­per GT ti­tle win­ning Lexus LC500.

Cas­sidy with Ja­panese co-driver and joint 2017 cham­pion Ryo Hi­rakawa.

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