Lexus Team au TOM’s will have a long race ahead of them at Sugo this weekend, after replacing the monocoque of their #36 au Lexus RC-F. For this, they will be forced to serve a 10-second penalty stop during Sunday’s 81-lap race.
A displacement in the monocoque was discovered after the team carried out a chassis rigidity test following their fourth-place finish in the Fuji 500km. The displacement was deemed both unsafe and irreparable, forcing the team to switch to a new monocoque.
In the off-season, the team patched up a crack in the old monocoque following a semi-private test at Sepang Circuit in Malaysia – but in the end, it created more problems that forced their hand in the lead-up to this race.
This is now the second consecutive year that the #36 TOM’s squad has had to serve a penalty stop during the race at Sugo for changing a key component of their car. Last year, they picked up a similar penalty for exceeding the maximum allotted engine supply following their win at the Suzuka 1000km.
But in the long term, TOM’s Racing does expect the monocque change to make the car much quicker – even after a solid start to their 2016 season that sees Daisuke Ito and rookie Nick Cassidy in sixth in the GT500 Drivers’ Championship.