The #36 au TOM’s Lexus LC500 set the benchmark in the second day of Super GT testing from Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, becoming the first GT500 machine to set a time under 1 minute, 50 seconds to wrap up the first leg of the four-day test session.
The sunshine of the morning test would give way to a late monsoon in the afternoon, which saw some teams testing out their respective tyre suppliers’ wet weather compounds – and a hint of drama when Yuhi Sekiguchi spun off in the #093 Lexus LC500.
The morning session saw the fastest time of the testing period so far, with the #36 au TOM’s LC500 setting a fastest time of 1:49.858s – five seconds faster than the official GT500 lap record set in 2007. Kazuki Nakajima would have done most of the running as he prepares for his Super GT return.
Nissan were second and third in day two, with the #23 NISMO GT-R of Ronnie Quintarelli going second fastest, and Saturday’s fastest car, the #24 Kondo Racing Advan GT-R of Daiki Sasaki and João Paulo de Oliveira third fastest. Just 0.339 seconds separated the best times of the top three cars.
The #093 Lexus LC500, which is entered as an R&D car from Toyota Racing Development (TRD), split its programme between the morning and afternoon sessions – with Yuji Tachikawa, Hiroaki Ishiura, and Kohei Hirate testing the car on Bridgestone tyres in the AM session, and Yuhi Sekiguchi and Yuji Kunimoto testing on Yokohama tyres in the PM session.
A stoppage from the #64 Epson Honda NSX-GT and mechanical issues for the #230 Nissan GT-R were the extent of the issues in the morning test.
The #36 au LC500 was again fastest in the afternoon session on Sunday. The teams could not do much to improve their best times in the afternoon, however, when the rains came in – light at first, then much heavier, eventually forcing a twenty-minute stoppage in the test.
That was brought on when Sekiguchi spun the #093 Lexus LC500 off into a gravel trap, bringing out a red flag, and by then, the teams would prefer to wait it out until the track dried out before the end of the test day. Before the wet conditions became undriveable, all four tyre manufacturers got a chance to try their new wet-weather compounds – Bridgestone, Michelin, Yokohama, and Dunlop.
The #35 Toyota Team Thailand MC86 was the faster of the two GT300 machines again, with Yuhki Nakayama once again at the wheel of the Dome-constructed Mother Chassis special.
The teams will resume testing on Tuesday, with a few new drivers set to join in – including Katsumasa Chiyo and Jann Mardenborough, just coming off their drives at the Bathurst 12 Hour in Australia.
Rank / Number / Car / (Drivers) / Tyre / Best Lap [Session]
1st: #36 au TOM’s LC500 (K. Nakajima/J. Rossiter) – BS – 1:49.858 [AM]
2nd: #23 NISMO GT-R (R. Quintarelli) – MI – 1:50.047 [AM]
3rd: #24 Kondo Advan GT-R (D. Sasaki/J.P. Oliveira) – YH – 1:50.197 [AM]
4th: #093 Lexus LC500 (Tachikawa/Ishiura/Hirate/Sekiguchi/Kunimoto) – BS/YH – 1:50.468 [AM]
5th: #99 Honda NSX-GT (N. Yamamoto/T. Izawa/K. Tsukakoshi) – BS – 1:50.741 [AM]
6th: #12 Calsonic GT-R (H. Yasuda) – BS – 1:50.819 [AM]
7th: #16 Mugen NSX-GT (H. Mutoh/D. Nakajima) – YH – 1:51.387 [AM]
8th: #64 Epson NSX-GT (B. Baguette/K. Matsuura) – DL – 1:52.830 [AM]
9th: #230 Nissan GT-R (T. Matsuda/S. Motoyama) – MI – 1:53.471 [PM]
1st: #35 Toyota MC86 (Yuhki Nakayama) – YH – 2:01.035 [PM]
2nd: #60 Lexus RC F GT3 (A. Iida/H. Yoshimoto) – 2:02.899 [AM]
Photo credit: Shimpei Suzuki / auto sport