Friday’s JAF Motor Sports Award show in Tokyo saw all of Japan’s national racing champions honoured for their incredible accomplishments, from the grassroots level to the pinnacles of Super GT and Super Formula.
Lexus Team SARD, after winning their first championship in Super GT in 22 years, were presented with their GT500 Championship trophies for drivers Heikki Kovalainen, Kohei Hirate, and SARD representative Yuji Saiki (far left).
They were just one of several champions honoured for their accomplishments in Tokyo.
The GT300 championship trophies were also presented, to VivaC Team Tsuchiya’s lead driver and team representative, Takeshi Tsuchiya, and to co-driver Takamitsu Matsui. Tsuchiya accepted the trophy as team representative in place of his absent father Haruo, Tsuchiya Engineering’s director.
The first and second runners-up in each class were presented with plaques for their records in 2016: A second-place plaque for Andrea Caldarelli and Kazuya Oshima (Lexus Team Wako’s LeMans, GT500) as well as Koki Saga and Yuichi Nakayama (apr Racing, GT300), and third-place plaques for Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli (NISMO, GT500) and Tomonobu Fujii and Richard Lyons (Audi Team Hitotsuyama, GT300).
Lexus Team WedsSport Bandoh driver Yuji Kunimoto was presented with his trophy for winning the Japanese Super Formula Championship for P.mu/Cerumo-INGING Motorsport.
Also in the single-seater ranks, All-Japan Formula Three champion Kenta Yamashita, F3 National Class champion Yoshiaki Katayama, and another face to watch for in the future – Ritomo Miyata, the 17-year-old 2016 F4 Japanese Champion, were all presented with their championship prizes.