Seven Super GT teams took part in a semi-private Toyota Racing Development (TRD) test session at Fuji Speedway on Tuesday, and it was little surprise that Super GT’s “Fuji-meister,” Yuji Tachikawa, set the fastest unofficial time of the test session in the #38 ZENT Cerumo Lexus LC500.
Lexus Team ZENT Cerumo, Lexus Team WAKO’s LeMans, and Lexus Team WedsSport Bandoh were on hand to test their new 2017 GT500 machines, while apr Racing, LM Corsa, and Gainer brought four GT300 cars between them to the test, with the new 2017 Lexus RC F GT3 piloted by Yuichi Nakayama going fastest of the group.
Tachikawa’s best time in the #38 ZENT LC500 was a 1:28.124 set in the afternoon session, just over a half-second off the GT500 lap record at Fuji Speedway set last May by João Paulo de Oliveira.
Second best of the bunch was the #6 Wako’s RC-F of Kazuya Oshima and Andrea Caldarelli, which set a best time of 1:28.180.
Yuhi Sekiguchi got a chance to shake down the #19 WedsSport Advan LC500 for the first time at Fuji, on Yokohama tyres. AUTOSPORTweb did not report a best time for the WedsSport LC500 in comparison to the ZENT and Wako’s entries.
The lineups for the three Lexus GT500 squads look set for 2017, pending official confirmation by Toyota Gazoo Racing: Oshima/Caldarelli in the #6 Wako’s LC500, Sekiguchi and Yuji Kunimoto in the #19 WedsSport LC500, and Tachikawa with Hiroaki Ishiura in the #38 ZENT LC500.
Encouraging signs for the new Lexus RC F GT3, which set the fastest time of the day in the class with a best time of 1:37.104 piloted by Yuichi Nakayama, who looks set to join the revamped #51 LM Corsa team, along with former FIA F4 Japanese Champion Sho Tsuboi.
Tsuboi was on hand to watch and observe, the 21-year-old Toyota Young Driver Program (TDP) top prospect gearing up for what will be his sports car racing debut.
Newly-minted Gainer driver Hiroki Yoshida returned from his podium finish at the Asian Le Mans Series finale at Sepang to get his first hands-on work with the team, and the #10 Gainer Tanax Nissan GT-R.
Still in its livery from December’s Motul Sepang 12 Hour race, the #30 Toyota Prius apr GT was entrusted to regular drivers Kota Sasaki and Hiroaki Nagai.
On hand to observe from the apr Racing garage was longtime apr driver Koki Saga, and Rintaro Kubo (right), who made his Super GT debut last year with Arnage Racing, and now looks set to replace Yuichi Nakayama in the #31 Toyota Prius apr GT for 2017, pending confirmation from apr and Toyota.
In the afternoon test session, the #10 Gainer Tanax GT-R was fastest with a 1:37.434, followed by the #51 LM Corsa RC F with a 1:37.570, the #11 Gainer Tanax Mercedes AMG-GT3 of Björn Wirdheim third with a 1:37.649, and the #30 Toyota Prius fourth with a 1:37.962.
All photos credited to Ryuji Hirano and Toshikazu Moriyama of AUTOSPORTweb.