2017 GT500 cars already near record pace in testing

In the second day of a two-day shakedown test at Suzuka Circuit, Lexus and Nissan once again took their 2017 GT500 challengers to the track.

Both the 2017 Lexus LC 500 and the 2017 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 completed just under forty laps each today, between the morning and afternoon sessions. The Lexus turned in a fastest unofficial lap time in the 1 minute 47 second range to go fastest on the day, faster by about 2-3 seconds from yesterday’s test – and what’s more, near the pace of the existing GT500 class track record.

Once again, defending Suzuka 1000km champions Yuji Tachikawa and Hiroaki Ishiura (Lexus Team ZENT Cerumo) piloted the #093 LC 500 on Bridgestone Potenza tyres, while GT500 Drivers’ Champions, Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli (NISMO) piloted the #230 GT-R on Michelin tyres.

The new-look GT-R clocked an unofficial best lap time in the 1 minute, 48 second range. For reference, the current GT500 lap record at Suzuka, set this year by Hideki Mutoh, is a 1:47.456 – and the 2017 GT500 cars have much less downforce than the 2016 cars.

“The results were not something to get excited or disappointed about,” said one representative of Lexus Gazoo Racing after the tests. Conditions for the cars’ fastest laps weren’t disclosed, but Lexus can probably take pride in getting the upper hand on Nissan for the second straight day in testing.

Lexus Team au TOM’s chief engineer, Tsutomu Tojo, offered his feedback of the new Lexus as well in his most recent blog entry.

“The cornering performance and braking performance certainly has fallen from the previous car,” Tojo said. “On the contrary, straight line speed has been increased thanks to the reduction in drag, and the cars perform just as the GTA had predicted.”

“Therefore, it is easier to overtake GT300 cars in a straight line. The cornering speeds have been reduced, along with the longer braking distances.”

Honda will reveal their 2017 NSX-GT at the final round of the season in Twin Ring Motegi.

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