Nick Cassidy got the better of former Formula One World Champion Jensen Button on his way to third place in the Suzuka 300 kms Super GT race in his Lexus LC500.
With co-driver Ryo Hirakawa, the pair have now moved up to third overall in the series after three of the eight rounds.
After qualifying fourth, Aucklander Cassidy charged around the outside of Takashi Kogure to grab third place on the first corner.
When former Formula One driver Heiki Kovalainen crashed on lap 14 of the 52 lap race the safety car came out and the field bunched up.
On the restart Cassidy out manoeuvred Button and overtook him on the inside of the first corner and began closing on race leader Takuya Izawa before they pitted on lap 24 due to another safety car.
Hirakawa took over from Cassidy but struggled to get cold tyres up their working temperature and surrendered second place to Button’s co-driver Naoki Yamamoto.
Their positions remained unchanged for the rest of the race, with Button taking over the lead in the series, while Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli who finished sixth remain second.
The next round is on 1 July in Thailand.
Results – Suzuka 300 kms
1, T Nojiri, T Izawa (NSX);
2, N Yamamoto, J Button (NSX) 2.793 seconds behind;
3, N Cassidy, R Hirakawa (Lexus LC 500) 11.387.
Series points: 1, Yamamoto, Button, 32;
2, T Matsuda, R Quintarelli (GTR), 31;
3, Cassidy, Hirakawa, 26.
SUPER GT is Japan’s equivalent of V8 Supercars, with factory supported teams from Lexus, Nissan and Honda. The cars have two litre turbocharged engines with over 350 kWs. Podium finishers in each race have weight added for subsequent events to keep the competition close. Races vary in length between 300 and 1000 kms.
Nick Cassidy is a 22 year old Aucklander. He won the Toyota Racing Series in 2012 and 2013 and the New Zealand Grand Prix 2012, 2013 and 2014. He was the Japanese Formula 3 champion in 2015 and last year finished fourth in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship and fifth in Japan’s SUPER GT series.
For more information please contact:
Morgan Dilks, Lexus New Zealand Public Relations,
Phone (06) 351 3216 or 027 511 8622 or email email@example.com rounds.