Toyota Gazoo Racing announced their global motorsports activities for the 2018 season in a press release on Thursday, and with it, outlined their participation for the Autobacs Super GT Series.
Super GT series is the top category of Japanese car racing, and in 2018, Lexus Gazoo Racing will continue to enter the Lexus LC 500. Lexus Gazoo Racing will support 6 teams and 6 vehicles through TRD. In the GT300 class, Toyota Gazoo Racing will enter 2 Toyota Prius and 3 Lexus RC F GT3 models.
Lexus are the reigning and defending champion manufacturer, and their LC500 was a sensation in its debut season, winning its first four races and five in total for the year. For 2017, the Lexus Gazoo Racing fleet sees a number of dramatic changes.
Kamui Kobayashi is brought in from the FIA World Endurance Championship to partner fellow F1 alumni, Heikki Kovalainen, at Lexus Team SARD. 22-year-old Kenta Yamashita gets the call up to his first full-time GT500 drive, with Lexus Team WedsSport Bandoh, as he replaces Yuhi Sekiguchi, who will drive for Lexus Team au TOM’s. And Felix Rosenqvist, from the FIA Formula E Championship, will make his series debut with Lexus Team au TOM’s.
What remains intact are the defending champions, Lexus Team KeePer TOM’s, and drivers Ryo Hirakawa and Nick Cassidy. And at Lexus Team ZENT Cerumo, Yuji Tachikawa – in his twentieth season with the team – will partner the two-time and defending Super Formula champion Hiroaki Ishiura.
In GT300, Lexus adds a third customer team in Panther Team Thailand, who will field a Lexus RC F GT3 alongside the two-car effort at LM Corsa. And two-time GT500 champion Kohei Hirate joins apr Racing, and will drive one of their two Toyota Prius apr GTs.
Toyota and Lexus have combined to win 9 GT500 championships and 7 GT300 championships as a brand in their history in Super GT.
LEXUS – GT500 TEAMS AND DRIVERS
#1 – LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM’s – Bridgestone
Ryo Hirakawa / Nick Cassidy
#6 – LEXUS TEAM WAKO’s LEMANS – Bridgestone
Kazuya Oshima / Felix Rosenqvist
#19 – LEXUS TEAM WedsSport BANDOH – Yokohama
Yuji Kunimoto / Kenta Yamashita
#36 – LEXUS TEAM au TOM’s – Bridgestone
Kazuki Nakajima / Yuhi Sekiguchi
#38 – LEXUS TEAM ZENT CERUMO – Bridgestone
Yuji Tachikawa / Hiroaki Ishiura
#39 – LEXUS TEAM SARD – Bridgestone
Heikki Kovalainen / Kamui Kobayashi
TOYOTA/LEXUS GT300 TEAMS & DRIVERS
#30 – apr RACING – Yokohama
Hiroaki Nagai / Kota Sasaki
#31 – apr RACING – Bridgestone
Koki Saga / Kohei Hirate
#35 – arto-PANTHER TEAM THAILAND – Yokohama
Nattavude Charoensukhawatana / Nattapong Horthongkum
#60 – LM CORSA – Yokohama
Hiroki Yoshimoto / Ritomo Miyata
#96 – K-TUNES RACING LM CORSA – Bridgestone
Yuichi Nakayama / Morio Nitta