Okayama Test Debrief: Lexus Lockdown

If you’re a supporter of the Toyota Motor Company at large, this weekend’s Super GT test at Okayama International Circuit was probably an awesome time for you. Especially where GT500 was concerned. It’s not often you see an entire six-car manufacturer effort in a parity-driven series lock out the top six in a session two times in as many days.

Oh, and now the second test goes back to Toyota and Lexus’ “home ground” of Fuji Speedway this coming weekend.

Welcome to the debrief of the Okayama International Circuit Super GT test session.

Here’s the best times of each car from all four sessions over the two days of testing. Note that ballast figures, fuel loads, tyre compound information, etc. etc. is not available, so take these tables with a grain of salt. Even still, it was visibly evident that Lexus had the upper hand in the GT500 manufacturer battle.

test2_1-YO5_1391
© GT Association
GT500 Class
Pos. # Car Tyre
S1
S2
S3
S4
1st 37 KeePer TOM’s LC500 BS
1:18.149
1:18.599 1:18.395 1:18.889
2nd 1 Denso Kobelco SARD LC500 BS
1:18.274
1:18.306 1:18.649 1:18.590
3rd 36 au TOM’s LC500 BS
1:18.346
1:18.677 1:19.190 1:18.856
4th 17 Keihin NSX-GT BS 1:19.565
1:18.387
1:18.511 1:19.436
5th 38 ZENT Cerumo LC500 BS
1:18.419
1:18.550 1:18.911 1:18.423
6th 6 Wako’s 4CR LC500 BS 1:18.422
1:18.421
1:18.593 1:18.885
7th 8 ARTA NSX-GT BS 1:19.143 1:19.041
1:18.544
1:19.586
8th 100 Raybrig NSX-GT BS 1:19.158
1:18.555
1:18.817 1:19.560
9th 19 WedsSport Advan LC500 YH 1:18.860 1:18.690 1:19.991
1:18.681
10th 24 Forum Engineering Advan GT-R YH 1:18.905
1:18.705
1:19.300 1:19.275
11th 64 Epson Modulo NSX-GT DL 1:20.080
1:18.863
1:21.268 1:20.548
12th 12 Calsonic Impul GT-R BS
1:18.901
1:19.569 1:19.104 1:20.046
13th 46 S Road Craftsports GT-R MI 1:19.996 1:19.262
1:19.208
1:20.550
14th 23 Motul Autech GT-R MI 1:20.285
1:19.211
1:19.294 1:20.955
15th 16 Motul Mugen NSX-GT YH 1:19.885 1:19.659
1:19.439
1:19.994

More of a big deal should probably be made over the fact that Bridgestone seemed to have a clear-cut advantage in the conditions. In the combined test results from all four sessions, Bridgestone-equipped teams from Lexus and Honda locked out the top eight places.

 

Nissan GT-R - Super GT
© Nissan

 

Nissan seem to be struggling with the revised GT-R. More specifically, the Michelin-clad GT-Rs of NISMO and MOLA International are struggling for pace. In most conditions, Michelin seem to have the best all-around dry-weather tyre. However, colder conditions seem to be their one achilles heel, demonstrated at Motegi last November, and Okayama this past weekend where the temperatures never got above 15°C until Sunday afternoon.

Early forecasts predict similar forecasts for the tests at Fuji, where Nissan’s recent stranglehold of the circuit – among many other things – looks in jeopardy.

3-5YO_4065
© GTA

 

If you’re a Honda supporter, downtrodden over 2016’s misery, this session should provide hope with the new NSX-GT. At least in the hands of their three Bridgestone teams, the NSX-GT seems to have the pace to run with the Lexus LC500 out of the box.

Something that couldn’t be said about the NSX Concept-GT in 2014 or 2016.

Now we move on to GT300.

test1_2-YO5_9576
© GT Association
GT300 Class
Pos. # Car Tyre
S1
S2
S3
S4
1st 25 VivaC 86 MC YH 1:28.884 1:25.600
1:25.529
1:25.947
2nd 3 B-Max NDDP GT-R YH 1:26.138
1:25.568
1:26.012 1:25.893
3rd 18 Upgarage Bandoh 86 YH
1:25.693
1:26.409 1:26.457 1:26.614
4th 61 Subaru BRZ R&D Sport DL 1:26.505 1:26.062
1:25.711
1:26.301
5th 21 Hitotsuyama Audi R8 LMS DL 1:26.195
1:25.759
1:27.737 1:27.057
6th 33 D’Station Porsche YH 1:26.400
1:25.983
1:26.781 1:26.236
7th 4 Goodsmile Hatsune Miku AMG YH 1:26.349 1:27.509 1:26.525
1:25.988
8th 65 Leon Cvstos AMG BS 1:26.313
1:26.048
1:26.157 1:27.053
9th 31 Toyota Prius apr GT BS
1:26.089
1:26.674 1:26.652 1:27.267
10th 50 Ferrari 488 GT3 YH
1:26.133
1:27.719 1:27.322 x
11th 9 Gulf NAC Porsche 911 YH 1:27.127 1:26.687 1:26.854
1:26.149
12th 11 Gainer Tanax AMG GT3 DL 1:26.754 1:26.630 1:38.669
1:26.209
13th 88 ManePa Lamborghini GT3 YH 1:27.465 1:27.069
1:26.309
1:27.250
14th 55 ARTA BMW M6 GT3 BS 1:26.482
1:26.432
1:26.458 1:26.476
15th 51 JMS P.MU LMCorsa RC F GT3 BS 1:27.141 1:26.494
1:26.458
1:26.627
16th 5 Mach Syaken MC86 GTNET YH 1:27.266 1:26.991 1:27.557
1:26.490
17th 30 Toyota Prius apr GT YH 1:27.353
1:26.499
1:27.279 1:27.471
18th 2 Syntium Apple Lotus YH 1:27.254
1:26.506
2:10.145 1:26.969
19th 360 RunUp GT-R GT3 YH 1:26.652 1:26.628 1:27.032
1:26.562
20th 111 EVA RT Test-01 Rn-s AMG GT YH 1:26.657
1:26.624
1:27.036 1:26.660
21st 87 Shop Channel Lamborghini GT3 YH 1:27.480
1:26.655
1:27.086 1:26.660
22nd 10 Gainer Tanax GT-R DL 1:26.929
1:26.713
1:26.889 1:27.388
23rd 7 Studie BMW M6 YH 1:27.928 1:26.756
1:26.749
1:27.217
24th 60 Syntium LMCorsa RC F GT3 YH 1:27.771 1:28.396
1:26.751
1:26.868
25th 26 Taisan SARD R8 Fukushima YH 1:27.828 1:27.230
1:26.778
x
26th 52 GreenBrave Mark X MC YH 1:27.233 1:27.549 1:27.722
1:26.850
27th 117 EICars Bentley GT3 YH 1:28.286
1:27.187
1:27.786 1:27.983
28th 22 R’Qs SLS AMG GT3 YH 1:29.036 1:28.407 1:27.786
1:27.310
29th 35 Arto 86 MC 101 YH 1:28.790
1:27.744
1:28.457 1:28.210
30th 48 Nissan GT-R GT3 YH 1:29.144 1:27.866 1:28.878
1:27.787

GT3 vs GT300 is such a fun battle to observe in GT300. Two different styles of race car, lapping about the same time, but making their speed up in different ways. We see that in the sleek, downforce-heavy Toyota 86 MC and the brawnier Nissan GT-R GT3 lapping within less than four one-hundreths of a second of each other over the weekend.

test1_t2010
© Toyota Gazoo Racing

 

Amongst the new cars, the Lexus RC F GT3 – the one that’s built to proper GT3 specifications this time – was solid, at times up in the top ten with the #51 team.

test1_bentley5
© EIcars Bentley TTO

The Toyota Mark X MC and the Bentley Contiental GT3 didn’t have any major issues – as good as can be expected from two new cars (one all-new, one new to Super GT) in the hands of upstart teams.

Nissan GT-R - Super GT
© Nissan

Now the test shifts to Fuji, where in theory, the higher top speed and horsepower of the GT3 cars like the GT-R should be a benefit – especially on the long main straightaway.

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