Cassidy cautiously optimistic for Japan’s “Bathurst”

Published 22 August 2017

Nick Cassidy goes into this weekend’s Suzuka 1000 kms, looking for a podium position in his Lexus LC 500 and the opportunity to continue his front running form in the SUPER GT Championship.

With co-driver Ryo Hirakawa, the Aucklander currently lies third in the series, only two points behind leader James Rossiter and just one point behind second place.

The Suzuka 1000 kms is the longest and most important race in the SUPER GT series and Cassidy finished runner-up in his debut season 12 months ago. A Crowd of 120,000 people is expected on race day.

Cassidy and Hirakawa won the opening round of the championship back in April and a string of consistent results have kept them in contention for the title, despite having weight added to the car and fuel flow restrictions as a form of handicapping.

“From the championship point of view, I think we are in a reasonable position,” said Cassidy. “A couple of our rivals are now carrying more weight and have a greater fuel restriction.”

The 2.5 per cent fuel restriction often means at least half a second a lap slower in times.

“But for this race there are still a couple of fast cars with less weight.”

Following the Suzuka race, all the weight and fuel flow restrictions are removed from the cars for the final two rounds of the series.

At Suzuka, cars must make at least five pit stops, but they are not allowed to pit during any safety car periods.

“I’m not a fan of it,” admitted Cassidy. “If you pit just before a safety car period you can usually get an advantage. It means the races are sometimes a bit more about the luck of the draw, rather than team and driver strategy.”

Cassidy warmed up for Suzuka by finishing fifth in the latest round of the SUPER FORMULA series at Motegi last Sunday in a race dominated by tyre strategy.

He qualified fifth only 0.141 seconds away from pole position. Electing to start on medium compound tyres he slipped back to eighth as drivers on soft tyres took advantage of their greater grip.

“I was really wrapped with the weekend,” said Cassidy. “The competition is very close and the Kondo team I am driving for has never been this competitive. If I can improve my starts we should be able to do even better.”

Once everybody had pitted and changed to the opposite tyre as the rules required Cassidy improved to fourth with the greater grip he had from his soft tyres. He lost one place in the closing laps to a driver who had pitted much later in the race and had fresher soft tyres.

Cassidy lies ninth in the series and third in the Novice championship in his debut season in Japan’s top single seater cars.


Published 22 February 2018

Two rounds complete, and the factory Toyota World Rally Team has made a strong start. Esapekka Lappi was the star of the Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team on the final day of the Swedish round of the World Rally Championship to gain two places and finish fourth overall.

Read more

Cassidy-looks-to-defend-Super-GT-title_ARTICLE_300x170 Cassidy looks to defend Super GT title

Published 31 January 2018

Nick Cassidy is under no illusions how tough the defence of his Super GT Championship will be as he returns to Japan this week to continue preparations with extensive testing of his Lexus LC 500.

Read more

TOYOTA-WINS-FINAL-WEC-RACE_ARTICLE_300x170 Toyota wins final WEC race

Published 21 November 2017

Toyota had a bitter sweet end to the 2017 World Championship motorsport season over the weekend.

Read more

Contact Toyota Racing

Follow us

TRS logo Social Media
Toyota Racing New Zealand
Toyota New Zealand
Toyota 86 New Zealand