Lexus has taken its remarkableperformance in the 2018 AUTOBACS SUPER GT500 Series to a new level, with Kazuki Nakajima and Yuhi Sekiguchi clinching victory at the wheel of the No. 36 LC 500 auTOM’Sin the fifth round of the season. Held recently at Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Prefecture, the closely fought 500-mile contest also saw the No. 1 LC 500 KeePer TOM’Sspeed to a podium finish, as Ryo Hirakawa and Nick Cassidy emerged as the second fastest team in the GT500 class race.
Yugo Miyamoto, Chief Representative of MiddleEast and North Africa Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation,said, “It gives me great pleasure to extend my heartiest congratulations to the Lexus teams on their outstanding victory in the drama-filled Fuji 500-mile race. While participating in motorsports, we focus on testing our cars under extreme conditions on racetracks and bringing the best of Lexus’ amazing engineering and design to stimulate our customers’ emotions. On behalf of everyone at Lexus, I thank our loyal fans for their continuous support and for inspiring us to create amazing experiences.”
In the early stages of the race, theNo. 23 and No. 24 competitor vehicles led the rally, followed by the No. 36 LC 500 auTOM’S, driven by Yuhi Sekiguchi in third place. It looked as if gaps between these three were growing, but on the 23rd lap, the No. 36 LC 500auTOM’Smoved up from third into second position. Then, as it began closing in on the leader in front, the No. 23 competitor vehicle opted to make its first pit stop on lap 31. This marked the beginning of the first round ofpit stops by the other teams as well.
This left the No. 36 LC 500 auTOM’Srunning as the tentative leader until it made its pit stop and returned onto the track in fourth position. The No. 23 competitor vehicle kept this lead until the middle stages of the race when it lost first placeto the No. 12 competitor vehicle. After taking the lead on the 55th lap of the race, the No. 12 competitor vehicle continued to hold that position. With Kazuki Nakajima at the wheel, the No.36 LC 500 auTOM’Scontinued to pursue the top spot until the vehiclemade its second pit stop on the 73rd lap.
The No. 12 competitor vehicle remained in the lead, followed by competitor vehicle No. 23 and No. 1 LC 500 KeePer TOM’S, piloted by Nick Cassidy, and the No. 24 competitor vehicle in fourth position. The No. 36 LC 500 auTOM’S, with Yuhi Sekiguchi back in the driver’s seat, was pushing hard to make up the ground lostdue to extended pit time. And by the 79th lap, it had caught up and passed the No. 1 LC 500 KeePer TOM’Sto move into third place once again.
As the race passed the midway point, theNo. 12 competitor vehicle continued to hold the lead. Behind it, the No. 23 competitor vehicle and No. 36 LC 500 auTOM’S, driven by Yuhi Sekiguchi, kept in pursuit. After a successful third pit stop, the No. 36 LC 500 auTOM’S, with Kazuki Nakajima at the wheel, managed to move up to secondposition, with the No. 12 competitor vehicle still in the lead.
On the 125th lap of the race, however, the No. 1 LC 500 KeePer TOM’S passed the No. 23 competitor vehicle. Then, on the 148th lap, the No. 12 competitor vehicle suddenly began to slow down and had to repair a mechanical issuethat required a 3-minute pit stop. With this, the No. 36 LC 500 auTOM’S, driven by Yuhi Sekiguchi, took over the lead, with No. 1 LC 500 KeePer TOM’S, with Nick Cassidy in the driver’s seat, in second place, to secure a one-two finish for the Lexus teams.
With these results, No. 1 LC 500 KeePer TOM’S, co-piloted by Ryo Hirakawa and Nick Cassidy,moves up to first place in the ranking with 47 points, with the No. 36 LC 500 auTOM’S Yuhi Sekiguchi in second place.