11 cars took part in the first of four days of Super GT manufacturer testing from Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, and Nissan led the way on Saturday via the #24 Kondo Racing Advan GT-R.
The Kondo GT-R set the fastest time of the day in the afternoon session, while Lexus Team au TOM’s led the way in the morning session.
In total, four Nissan GT-Rs, three Honda NSX-GTs, and two Lexus LC500s are taking part in the test, along with one Lexus RC F GT3 from LM Corsa and one Toyota MC86 from newcomers Toyota Team Thailand.
Daiki Sasaki and João Paulo de Oliveira drove the #24 Kondo Advan GT-R to the fastest time in the afternoon session, a 1:50.516. Sasaki and Oliveira are expected to be the driver lineup for Kondo Racing in 2017, pending official confirmation from Nissan on February 24.
Second-fastest on the day, and fastest in the morning session, was the #36 au TOM’s Lexus LC500, which had a host of drivers during the day. Kazuki Nakajima drove most of the day as he prepares for his Super GT return, but James Rossiter, Nick Cassidy, and even TDP prospect Sho Tsuboi drove the car on the first day of testing.
In third was the #093 Lexus LC500, the factory R&D car being driven by Yuji Tachikawa, Hiroaki Ishiura, Kohei Hirate and Kazuya Oshima. The top three cars’ best times were covered by just 0.059 seconds.
Ronnie Quintarelli went fourth-fastest in the #23 NISMO GT-R, just ahead of NISMO’s research and development car, the #230 NISMO GT-R driven by Tsugio Matsuda and Satoshi Motoyama. The #230 car was mainly doing aerodynamic testing, and suffered a minor engine problem during the afternoon session, but still did respectable.
Sixth was the #12 IMPUL GT-R of Hironobu Yasuda, carrying Calsonic sponsorship -which should indicate that Impul’s long-time sponsor of 35 years will return for the upcoming season after all.
Mixed fortunes for the Honda team, who were bottom of the order in GT500. The #99 Honda NSX-GT of Naoki Yamamoto, Takuya Izawa, and Koudai Tsukakoshi was seventh-fastest, ahead of the #16 Mugen NSX-GT (Hideki Mutoh/Daisuke Nakajima) and the #64 Epson NSX (Bertrand Baguette/Kosuke Matsuura).
Only two GT300 cars came to the test, but it was a close fight between the #35 Toyota Team Thailand MC86, piloted by Yuhki Nakayama for this test session, and the #60 LM Corsa Lexus RC F GT3 of Akira Iida and Hiroki Yoshimoto.
In the end, it was the Thai MC86 that topped the session, but by just 0.023 seconds over the RC F.
The Sepang tests will continue from February 5th, 7th, and 8th, with the likes of Jann Mardenborough, Katsumasa Chiyo, Ryo Hirakawa, and Daisuke Ito joining in in the second leg of the tests.
Day 1 Results
Rank / # / Car / (Drivers) / Tyre / Best Time [Session]
1st: #24 Kondo Advan GT-R (D. Sasaki / J.P. Oliveira) – YH – 1:50.516 [PM]
2nd: #36 au TOM’s LC500 (K. Nakajima/Rossiter/Cassidy/Tsuboi) – BS – 1:50.561 [AM]
3rd: #093 Lexus LC500 (Tachikawa/Ishiura/Hirate/Oshima) – BS – 1:50.575 [PM]
4th: #23 NISMO GT-R (R. Quintarelli) – MI – 1:50.762 [PM]
5th: #230 NISMO GT-R (T. Matsuda/S. Motoyama) – MI – 1:51.301 [AM]
6th: #12 Calsonic GT-R (H. Yasuda) – BS – 1:51.315 [AM]
7th: #99 Honda NSX-GT (Yamamoto/Izawa/Tsukakoshi) – BS – 1:51.652 [AM]
8th: #16 Mugen NSX-GT (H. Mutoh/D. Nakajima) – YH – 1:52.094 [AM]
9th: #64 Epson NSX-GT (B. Baguette/K. Matsuura) – DL – 1:53.003 [AM]
1st: #35 Toyota MC86 (Yuhki Nakayama) – YH – 2:01.305 [PM]
2nd: #60 Lexus RC F GT3 (A. Iida/H. Yoshimoto) – YH – 2:01.328 [PM]