R’Qs Motor Sports’ 2017 campaign has gotten off to a rough start before the first day of the season has even begun.
The GT Association announced today that veteran driver Hisashi Wada has been given an all-day driving ban from Saturday practice and qualifying for the Okayama GT 300km Race on April 8-9, after accumulating eight points towards his license for violations of the Driving Moral Hazard System.
The #22 R’Qs Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, which he shares with Masaki Jyonai, will also be given an eight grid spot penalty for the race on April 9 – the first team ever to be assessed a grid penalty for Driving Moral Hazard infractions.
The Driving Moral Hazard System was established by Super GT and its sanctioning body, the GT Association (GTA) to ensure high-quality racing, safe driving standards, and sportsmanship between all drivers.
Wada was issued a black and white flag during the first race of the Motegi GT Grand Final on November 12 (Round 3) for driving with dangerous body damage to the front of his Mercedes-Benz.
On Thursday, it was announced that Wada was given one point towards his license for the action, bringing him from seven to eight points, and forcing the 54-year-old veteran to sit out practice and qualifying for the first round as well as incurring a grid penalty for his team.
The penalty points will remain on the drivers’ record for 12 months, but any driver may deduct two points at a time for driving two consecutive races without any penalties.
Wada was assessed a similar practice and qualifying ban at last year’s Suzuka 1000km for repeated on-track incidents during 2016 – including one at Sugo that spun race leader Andrea Caldarelli and the #6 Wako’s Lexus RC F out from the lead, and another with the Gulf Racing with Pacific Porsche the following race at Fuji that brought out a lengthy safety car intervention.
An additional eight place grid penalty does not bode well for R’Qs Motor Sports, who voluntarily missed the second pre-season test at Fuji Speedway, and did not start better than 21st in a race in 2016.
Wada will be allowed to drive in the feature race on Sunday, April 9. No driver has been banned from a race due to Driving Moral Hazard System penalties since 2012.