Kazuki Nakajima and Yuhi Sekiguchi ran away with the victory this afternoon, leading a Lexus 1-2-3 at a very warm and sunny Suzuka.

The pair, driving their #36 au TOM’s LC500, had qualified on pole during qualifying on Saturday and had managed to defend their place for the entire race.

Once the race had begun, Nakajima used the opening laps to create a wide lead, whilst the sister #6 Wako’s LC500 and the #37 KeePer TOM’s LC500 fought for second place.

However, the lead was short lived as on the 18th lap, Ronnie Quintarelli, the championship leader, suffered a mechanical failure on his #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R and lost control on the famous 130R, binning the car straight into a barrier.

Marshals quickly moved the car off track and repaired the barrier whilst the raced resumed under Safety Car conditions. Many teams decided to complete their mandatory pit stop after the Safety Car period had cleared, including race leader Nakajima who handed over to teammate Sekiguchi.

Once all cars had completed their pit stops, a fierce battle for first place ensued between the three leading cars, featuring Sekiguchi in the #36 LC500, Nick Cassidy in the #37 LC500 and the #6 Wako’s LC500 with Kenta Yamashita at the wheel.

That battle continued right to the end of the race, where Sekiguchi continued his winning streak after his victory last weekend in the second round of Super Formula at Autopolis.

Nick Cassidy and Ryo Hirakawa finished second in their #36 KeePer TOM’s LC500 thanks to a miraculous overtake in the final laps of the race, with Kazuya Oshima and Kenta Yamashita filling the podium in their #6 Wako’s LC500.

Super GT’s Balance of Power and Weight Handicap system that is applied to teams who perform well proved too effective at Suzuka this weekend, with the once-promising #12 Calsonic Impul Nissan GT-R and defending champion #1 Raybrig Honda NSX both struggling in qualifying and in the race too. The #1 Raybrig of defending champions Naoki Yamamoto and Jenson Button qualifying sixth-fastest and the #12 Calsonic of Daiki Sasaki and James Rossiter finishing a lapped tenth and coming to a complete halt just after crossing the finish line.

Meanwhile in GT300 class, there was good news for the #25 Hoppy Toyota GT86 MC entry which secured more sponsorship funding on Saturday afternoon, allowing them to continue racing this season. On top of that, the team qualified in pole position, and managed to hold the place for a significant portion of the race. However, they fell victim to the Safety Car interruption on lap 18, effectively ruining Takamitsu Matsui and Kimiya Sato’s chances at a victory this weekend.

Lexus therefore ended up double-dipping for victory this weekend at Suzuka with Morio Nitta and Sena Sakaguchi in the #96 K-Tunes RC-F taking the win. The #5 Advics Toyota 86 MC driven by Natsu Sakaguchi and Yuya Hiraki claimed second and the #61 Subaru R&D Sport BRZ driven by Takuto Iguchi and Hideki Yamauchi completed the class podium.

Drivers Team / Entry Result Pts
1. Kazuki Nakajima
Yuhi Sekiguchi

Lexus Team au TOM’S
Lexus LC500 / R14AG
1:47:21.606 21
2. Ryō Hirakawa
Nick Cassidy

Lexus Team KeePer TOM’S
Lexus LC500 / R14AG
+ 8.071 15
3. Kazuya Oshima
Kenta Yamashita

Lexus Team LeMans Wako’s
Lexus LC500 / R14AG
+ 10.534 11
4. Tomoki Nojiri
Takuya Izawa

Autobacs Racing Team Aguri
Honda NSX-GT / HR-417E
+ 16.826 8
5. Heikki Kovalainen
Yuichi Nakayama

Lexus Team Denso Kobelco SARD
Lexus LC500 / R14AG
+ 34.340 6
6. Yuji Tachikawa
Hiroaki Ishiura

Lexus Team ZENT Cerumo
Lexus LC500 / R14AG
+ 42.353 5
7. Yuji Kunimoto
Sho Tsuboi

Lexus Team WedsSport Bandoh
Lexus LC500 / R14AG
+ 56.487 4
8. Mitsunori Takaboshi
Jann Mardenborough

Kondo Racing Advan
Nissan GT-R GT500 / NR20A
+ 1:07.597 3
9. Kohei Hirate
Frederic Makowiecki

NDDP Racing Craftsports Motul
Nissan GT-R GT500 / NR20A
+ 1:08.234 2
10. Daiki Sasaki
James Rossiter

Team Calsonic Impul
Nissan GT-R GT500 / NR20A
1 lap behind 1
11. Narain Karthikeyan
Tadasuke Makino

Modulo Epson Nakajima Racing
Honda NSX-GT / HR-417E
1 lap behind
12. Hideki Mutoh
Daisuke Nakajima

Team Mugen Motul
Honda NSX-GT / HR-417E
1 lap behind
13. Naoki Yamamoto
Jenson Button

Raybrig Team Kunimitsu
Honda NSX-GT / HR-417E
1 lap behind
DNF. Koudai Tsukakoshi
Bertrand Baguette

Keihin Real Racing
Honda NSX-GT / HR-417E
31 laps
DNF. Tsugio Matsuda
Ronnie Quintarelli

NISMO Motul Autech
Nissan GT-R GT500 / NR20A
16 laps

Championship Points:

  • Points are awarded to the top 10 classified finishers on a 20-15-11-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale.
  • The Kazuki Nakajima / Yuhi Sekiguchi entry is awarded an additional 1 championship point for claiming pole position.

Image via Proyecto Motorsport

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Keegan Bennett

Journalist - Japanese Motorsport at MotorsportM8

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