Damage to the #25 VivaC 86 MC forced minor repairs in the pit lane as Takamitsu Matsui gave the car to Kenta Yamashita. This time, they change all four tyres, and gained crucial track position with their double stint.
Another flurry of rain hit on lap 127, with Yuji Tachikawa starting to claw back the gap to Nick Cassidy in the battle for the GT500 lead as teams started to take out wet tyres. A gap as large as 6.5 seconds was whittled down to just 1.4 seconds in a few laps.
Lap 129 saw the Keihin NSX of Takashi Kogure beached at the end of Spoon Curve.
On the same lap, there was massive drama as Tachikawa made his move in the ZENT RC-F at the Spoon Curve – but under yellow flags for Kogure’s spin.
Two laps later, an incensed Cassidy made his move in the au RC-F to go back into the lead with a forceful move at Casio Triangle. But at Spoon the next lap, Tachikawa took advantage as Cassidy again spun the tyres and begun to pull away.
Eventually, the stewards ruled that Tachikawa’s controversial first pass for the lead at Spoon Curve was a valid pass, and the ZENT RC-F was not penalized.
But Cassidy would not give up the fight for the lead, closing in within a second of each other on lap 140 as the final pit window opened up. On lap 142, Tachikawa pitted the ZENT RC-F from the lead, giving Ishiura the final stint.
Cassidy belted out a monstrous in-lap before pitting on lap 143, giving Daisuke Ito the chance to win his record-tying fourth Suzuka 1000km. Ishiura ultimately won out in the immediate battle for position as Ito peeled out on cold tyres.
Takuto Iguchi continues to control the GT300 race, in search of Subaru R&D Sport’s fourth Suzuka 1000km GT300 class victory in the last seven years. The #18 Upgarage 86 and #4 Hatsune Miku AMG had yet to pit, and the #61 Subaru BRZ had made its mandatory five stops.
Running order after 150/173 laps
1st: #38 ZENT Cerumo RC-F (Tachikawa/Ishiura)
2nd: #1 Motul GT-R (Matsuda/Quintarelli)
3rd: #36 au TOM’s RC-F (Ito/Cassidy)
4th: #6 Wako’s RC-F (Oshima/Caldarelli)
5th: #19 WedsSport RC-F (Sekiguchi/Kunimoto)
1st: #18 Upgarage 86 MC (Nakayama/Yamada)
2nd: #61 Subaru BRZ (Iguchi/Yamauchi)
3rd: #25 VivaC 86 MC (Tsuchiya/Matsui/Yamashita)
4th: #0 Gainer Tanax GT-R (Couto/Tomita)
5th: #33 Excellence Porsche (Yamano/Sakamoto)