2016 Review: Lamborghini Team Direction

In Direction Racing’s second year as a stand-alone team, they assembled the building blocks for a successful programme. Unfortunately, a lack of results weren’t the extent of the team’s issues.

direction-63
© Direction Racing

#63 Direction 108 Lamborghini Huracan GT3

Drivers: Naoki Yokomizo / Adrian Zaugg
GT300 Drivers’ Championship: Not Classified (0 points)
GT300 Teams’ Championship: 19th place (20 points)
Best Finish: 13th (Buriram)
Best Qualifying: 10th (Fuji 300k, Suzuka)

This car was just gorgeous to watch, even if it rarely featured at the sharp end of the GT300 grid. Who knew metallic hot pink was such a good colour for the V10-engined Huracán in its first year of duty in Super GT?

In terms of drivers, the team of former GT300 champion Yokomizo and Lamborghini GT standout Zaugg is solid, and it was the latter who impressed especially in qualifying, backing up his reputation established as a former F1 prospect and standout in Blancpain GT Series racing.

Getting through the season without a single retirement was an especially stout achievement for what is still a very new team in the first year of a new partnership, but a best finish of 13th is well below the caliber of their driver pairing.

That said, this team is headed in a good direction – pun entirely intended – and if they can keep Yokomizo and Zaugg together for another season, and continue to add more of the right engineers around them, they could easily break through into the points.

direction-108
© Direction Racing

#108 Direction 108 Lamborghini Huracan GT3

Drivers: Kyosuke Mineo / Kei Cozzolino (2 races) / Jono Lester (2 races) / Hironori Takeuchi (3 races)
GT300 Drivers’ Championship: Not Classified (0 points)
GT300 Teams’ Championship: 27th place (9 points)
Best Finish: 16th place (Okayama)
Best Qualifying: 19th place (Okayama)

If the #63 team represents the promising future that Direction Racing seems to have as an organization, this side of the garage is indicative of the mountains they still have yet to ascend if they at least want to match fellow Lamborghini runners JLOC, let alone be a top team in GT300.

Former GT300 champion Mineo had poor continuity in his co-driver role, bouncing from Kei Cozzolino who mysteriously vanished from the team’s plans after Fuji, to our friend Jono Lester who had two luckless races of his own, to co-owner Takeuchi, a former GT500 champion who was at least a stabilizing presence at the end of the year.

They were left off the entry at Sugo and Buriram, they were a DNS at the Fuji 300k, and the team’s partnership with 108 Racing seems iffy at best, after team representative Yusuke Hayashi’s arrest on charges relating to a tax evasion case involving the Towa Group – which could have had serious ramifications on Direction Racing’s long-term future.

The good news is that Team Direction will return as a two-car operation in 2017, even if it seemed at times as if they were over-extended. Hopefully, the renewed support from Lamborghini Squadra Corse can lead to long-term growth.

 

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