Super GT finale: Win for Nismo, title for Lexus pair Hirakawa/Cassidy
Ryo Hirakawa and Nick Cassidy are the 2017 Japanese Super GT Series champions! A pair in the #37 Lexus LC500 of the Lexus Team KeePer Tom’s take the championship title after finishing second in the season’s finale at Twing Ring Motegi.
The race winners are Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli in the #23 Motul Autech Nissan GT-R, who started the race from pole position and triumphed for the first time this season. The third place on a podium was taken by the #38 Lexus crew – Yuji Tachikawa and Hiroaki Ishiura.
Aged 23, Hirakawa and Cassidy are the youngest champions in a history of the series. The championship title is fourth for the Team Tom’s but only the first for the #37 car. Over the 2017 season, Hirakawa and Cassidy were the race winners two times, in the season-opening race at Okayama International Circuit and in the seventh round at Chang International Circuit in Thailand.
After eight races, Hirakawa/Cassidy collected 84 points, two more then Matsuda/Quintarelli. Lexus drivers Kazuya Oshima and Andrea Caldarelli ended a season third in the points.
For Tsugio Matsuda, Motegi’s victory was 19th in his GT500 career, making him the most successful driver in a history. Quintarelli has 13 wins and he’s most successful foreign driver ever.
GT 300 title for Taniguchi and Kataoka
In the GT300 class, the champions are Nobuteru Taniguchi and Tatsuya Kataoka, a crew in the #4 Goodsmile Racing & Team Ukyo Mercedes-AMG GT3. They came to Motegi as championship leaders and defended their lead with third-place finish. It’s the third championship title both for Taniguchi and Kataoka.
The race winners in the GT300 class at Motegi were Haruki Kurosawa and Naoya Gamou in the #65 Leon Cvstos Mercedes-AMG GT3, ahead of Shinichi Takagi and Sean Walkinshaw in the #55 ARTA BMW M6 GT3.
Photos: Super GT World,