Twin Ring Motegi held a two-day test session for select Super GT teams on Tuesday, February 21 and Wednesday, February 22 as part of a very busy week of testing split across three different circuits – Motegi, Okayama International Circuit, and Fuji Speedway.
Lexus and Nissan brought four GT500 cars each to the test at Motegi, along with the Lexus RC F of LM Corsa, the Toyota Prius GT of apr Racing, and the new-to-Super GT Bentley Continental GT3 of EIcars Bentley TTO.
Across two dry and mostly trouble-free days of testing, it was Lexus who whitewashed the field, locking out the top four positions over both days of testing, led by the fastest car of the tests, the #6 Wako’s LC500 of Lexus Team LeMans and drivers Kazuya Oshima and Andrea Caldarelli.
All four Lexus LC500s set their fastest times in the Wednesday test sessions, with the Wako’s LC500 going fastest of all with a best lap of 1:36.818 – just three-tenths slower than the official lap record at Twin Ring Motegi, set by Kohei Hirate.
Second-fastest was the #38 ZENT Cerumo LC500 (Yuji Tachikawa / Hiroaki Ishiura), which set its best time of 1:36.846 in the Wednesday morning session.
Reigning All-Japan Formula 3 champion Kenta Yamashita, who will drive for VivaC Team Tsuchiya in 2017, got a chance to test the #19 WedsSport Advan LC500 for Lexus Team WedsSport Bandoh (with Yuhi Sekiguchi / Yuji Kunimoto), which went third-fastest ahead of the #1 Denso Kobelco SARD LC500 (Heikki Kovalainen / Kohei Hirate).
NISMO’s vibrant new red and black livery was seen on track for the first time, but Nissan could not match the Lexus fleet in terms of one-lap pace.
The #24 Kondo Racing Advan GT-R (Daiki Sasaki / João Paulo de Oliveira) was fastest of the four Nissan GT-Rs at Motegi, setting a fastest time of 1:37.809 on Wednesday afternoon.
Representing Nissan at Motegi were NISMO, Kondo Racing, and MOLA, with Calsonic Team Impul testing in Okayama instead. NISMO brought two cars, including the #230 research & development vehicle.
In GT300, the #117 EIcars Bentley Continental GT3 (Yuji Ide / Ryohei Sakaguchi) took its very first laps in a Super GT test session, but the big Bentley was only third-fastest of the three GT300 cars at the test.
apr also ran a new for 2017 livery on the #30 Toyota Prius (Hiroaki Nagai / Kota Sasaki) for the first time, with extra accents of orange adding to a revised arrangement of the Toyota Gazoo Racing white, red and black.
But at the head of the truncated GT300 field was the #51 P.MU JMS LM Corsa RC F GT3 (Yuichi Nakayama / Sho Tsuboi) which turned a best lap of 1:47.839, seven-tenths faster than the best time of the #30 Prius, and 1.2 seconds better than the Bentley’s best time.
Test Results – Twin Ring Motegi, February 21-22
Rank / Car (Drivers) / Tyres / Best Time
1st – #6 Wako’s LC500 (Oshima / Caldarelli) – BS – 1:36.818
2nd – #38 ZENT Cerumo LC500 (Tachikawa / Ishiura) – BS – 1:36.846
3rd – #19 WedsSport Advan LC500 (Sekiguchi / Kunimoto / Yamashita) – YH – 1:37.015
4th – #1 Denso SARD LC500 (Kovalainen / Hirate) – BS – 1:37.085
5th – #24 Kondo Advan GT-R (D. Sasaki / Oliveira) – YH – 1:37.809
6th – #230 Nissan GT-R (Matsuda / Quintarelli / Chiyo) – MI – 1:38.748
7th – #46 S Road Craftsports MOLA GT-R (Motoyama / Chiyo) – MI – 1:39.209
8th – #23 Motul Autech GT-R (Matsuda / Quintarelli) – MI – 1:39.334
1st – #51 JMS P.MU RC F GT3 (Yuichi Nakayama / Tsuboi) – BS – 1:47.839
2nd – #30 Toyota Prius apr GT (Nagai / K. Sasaki) – YH – 1:48.511
3rd – #117 EIcars Bentley GT3 (Ide / Sakaguchi) – YH – 1:49.034