Hisashi Wada, owner and driver of the #22 R’Qs Motor Sports Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, has been given a one-race ban for repeated violations of Super GT’s Driving Moral Hazard System, and will not be allowed to run in the Fuji GT 500km Race on May 3-4.
Wada reached the limit of 10 penalty points during the first GT300 qualifying session at Okayama International Circuit, for overtaking other vehicles during a red flag. He was forced to serve a ten-second stop/go penalty during the race on Sunday, in addition to an eight-place grid penalty for previous penalty points accumulated in the 2016 season.
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.
The race ban is a culmination of a troublesome string of races for the 54-year-old Wada, veteran of twenty-two previous seasons in Super GT since 1995.
During the 2016 season, Wada was involved in a number of clumsy on-track incidents – including one early on at Sportsland SUGO last year which spun race leader Andrea Caldarelli out of the top spot.
Wada had eight points on his license going into Okayama for failing to serve a black flag for driving with a damaged race car at last year’s season finale at Twin Ring Motegi. During Saturday qualifying at Okayama last weekend, Wada was caught overtaking under red flag conditions after Taku Bamba’s crash brought out a stoppage.
Wada is only the third Super GT driver to ever be forced to sit out a race due to Driving Moral Hazard System violations. The other two were Benoît Tréluyer, who was banned from the 2009 Suzuka 1000km, and Yuhi Sekiguchi, who served a ban for the 2012 Fuji 300km.
Announcement of a replacement driver will be made in the days leading up to the Fuji 500km on May 3-4.
In addition, Dijon Racing driver Masaki Tanaka has reached six points on his license after an incident during Sunday morning warm-up with the #21 Hitotsuyama Audi R8 LMS (Richard Lyons/Masataka Yanagida), and will be forced to sit out for the first hour of the 1 hour, 45 minute Wednesday practice session.