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.

 

“I think it will be a season long development battle,” said Cassidy. “The roles are a bit reversed from last year and we will be playing catch-up.”

 

Cassidy points to the final round of the series last November when he and team-mate Ryo Hirakawa became the youngest ever combination – they are both aged 23 years – to win the championship, Japan’s equivalent of V8 Supercars.

 

“Our main rivals qualified faster at the end of last year,” said Cassidy, who completed some testing in Malaysia before Christmas and returned to Japan earlier in the month.

 

But that session at the Fuji circuit had hardly started and it began to snow, so he returned home. “We didn’t accomplish much in that one hour and the rest of the test was abandoned.”

 

Cassidy has a positive outlook on the eight-round series which runs between April and November. “I think we are more advanced than at the same time last year.”

 

Cassidy and Hirakawa have the same engineer and team of mechanics that took them to the title in 2017 in the TOM’S Keeper Lexus LC 500.

 

They have also been buoyed by winning the Japan Motorsport Press Club Driver of the Year Award for their title winning performance.

 

“We have a great relationship in the team,” said Cassidy, who is looking forward to six days of testing at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia in February, before another six days at various Japanese tracks during March.

 

The championship starts at Okayama over the weekend of April 7 and 8.

 

 

Cassidy and Hirakawa face potentially tougher opposition in 2018, with former Formula One Grand Prix winner Jensen Button joining a Honda team full time and other Lexus LC 500s being crewed by drivers who spear head Toyota’s World Endurance sports car programme.

 

Cassidy will also be kept busy by the seven round Super Formula single seater championship, which uses the same 600 horsepower engines as Super GT.

 

Even though he had a podium place and a pole position in 2017 Cassidy expects it will be harder this year.

 

“It will be difficult to replicate those results. I have the same package as last year, but we haven’t got a lot of new stuff to try on the car. We now have a year’s experience in the Kondo team, but like Super GT there are a lot of good drivers.”

 

Series regulations limits the team to five days testing before the championship starts at Suzuka in April.

 

Cassidy’s full programme is. -

 

Super GT

April 7-8 Okayama

May 3-4 Fuji

May 19-20 Suzuka

June 30 – July 1 Thailand

August 4-5 Fuji

September 15-16 Sugo

October 13-14 Autopolis

November 10-11 Motegi

 

Super Formula

April 21-22 Suzuka

May 12-13 Autopolis

May 26-27 Sugo

July 7-8 Fuji

August 18-19 Motegi

September 8-9 Okayama

October 27-28 Suzuka

 

TÄNAK-TAKES-HISTORIC-FIRST-TITLE-WITH-THE-TOYOTA-YARIS-WRC_ARTICLE_300x170 Tänak takes historic first title with the Toyota Yaris WRC

Published 28 October 2019

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team driver Ott Tänak and his co-driver Martin Järveoja have made history by securing their first FIA World Rally Championship titles with a stunning second place finish on Rally de España.

Read more

Dramatic-double-victory-for-TOYOTA-GAZOO-Racing_ARTICLE_300x170 Dramatic double victory for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

Published 7 October 2019

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, the motorsports division of Toyota, was triumphant at two very different racing events around the globe over the weekend, winning both the Wales Rally of Great Britain and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) round at Fuji Speedway in Japan.

Read more

Silverstone-one-two-for-TOYOTA-GAZOO-Racing_ARTICLE_300x170 Silverstone one-two for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

Published 2 September 2019

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing started the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season in perfect style with a one-two victory in an eventful 4 Hours of Silverstone.

Read more

Contact TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

Follow us

TGR-NZ-black
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand
toyota-nz-icon
Toyota New Zealand
toyota-86-nz-icon
Toyota 86 New Zealand