Big title win for Cassidy in Japan
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.