Jenson Button, Naoki Yamamoto are Super GT champions for 2018
Jenson Button and Naoki Yamamoto are Japanese Super GT Series champions for 2018! The pair in the #100 Raybrig Honda NSX of Team Kunimitsu took the championship title after finishing third in the season’s finale at Twin Ring Motegi, one place ahead of main rivals Ryo Hirakawa and Nick Cassidy in the #1 Lexus LC500.
Yamamoto already celebrated the Japanese Super Formula Championship title two weeks ago and now he became only the fourth driver in a history to take both Super GT and Super Formula titles in the same season, the first since Richard Lyons in 2004.
The #100 and #1 crews entered the season’s finale tied in points so their duel was decisive for the championship, no matter how other crews would finish. Tomoki Nojiri and Takuya Izawa are the winners of the final race of the season in the #8 ARTA Honda, crossing the finish line 1.806 seconds ahead of the #38 Cerumo Lexus of Yuji Tachikawa and Hiroaki Ishiura.
The battle for the third place was also the battle for the championship. In the end, Button resisted to Hirakawa’s attacks and crossed the finish line just 1.5 seconds ahead of his main rival.
The championship title for the #100 crew marks Honda’s first Super GT title since 2010 while Jenson Button became the first rookie to win the championship since Toranosuke Takagi in 2005.
Race win and GT300 championship title for Kurosawa, Gamou
In the GT300 class, the race victory and the championship title went to Haruki Kurosawa and Naoya Gamou in the #65 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Leon Racing. They came to Motegi as the second-placed crew in the championship, started the race from P2 and clinched their first win of the season to win the championship title. It’s the first title for Kurosawa in his 15-year career while Gamou took the title on his 29th birthday.
Another Mercedes crew reached a podium – defending GT300 champions Nobuteru Taniguchi and Tatsuya Kataoka finished third in the #0 car. Koki Saga and Kohei Hirate finished second in the #31 Toyota Prius GT. ARTA’s Shinichi Takagi and Sean Walkinshaw, who came to Motegi as championship leader, scored just two points by finishing ninth.
Photos: Super GT World,