Lexus RC F GT3 speeds to victory in third race of the season in Suzuka, fueling the passion of its growing global audience of motorsport enthusiasts
Lexus continued its winning streak in the 2018 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series, taking the top position in the third round of the GT300 class at Suzuka Circuit in Japan’s Mie Prefecture. The No. 96 Lexus RC F GT3 K-tunes, driven by Morio Nitta and Yuichi Nakayama, won the race from pole position.
“I would like to congratulate our team on its outstanding performance and results. This triumph builds on our proven record in motorsports, and the valuable experience gained on the racetrack filters back to our production models, helping us to create amazing experiences for our customers,” said Yugo Miyamoto, Chief Representative of Middle East and North Africa Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation. “We extend our sincere gratitude to our fans for their ongoing support, which remains an unending source of inspiration in our quest to develop fun-to-drive vehicles that ignite the emotions.”
From the start of the race, Morio Nitta and Yuichi Nakayama’s pole-sitting Lexus RC F GT3 maintained first position and continued to widen its lead over the pack. By the 10th lap, it had opened up a lead of around five seconds. However, as the race entered its 13th lap, an accident brought out the safety car, and the lead soon evaporated.
Teams that had planned an early pit stop began returning to the pit lane one-by-one shortly after the race was restarted. When the No. 96 Lexus RC F GT3 K-tunes made its pit stop on the 25th lap, however, it changed all four tires. This strategy paid off, as although other teams had opened a small lead by deciding not to change their tires, the Lexus RC F GT3 K-tunes was soon closing in fast on fresh tires. By this time, there was an exciting five-car battle for the lead. However, in the chicane on the 36th lap, Nakayama swept past the competition to reclaim first position.
Following this move, a fierce battle for second place ensued among the teams that had foregone a tire change, with many rapid variations in the order during the final stages of the race. In the end, the No. 96 Lexus RC F GT3 K-tunes proved unstoppable, pulling away to take the chequered flag with a 15.885-second margin. This win brought Morio Nitta back into a tie with another driver from a competitor for the most career wins in GT300 and took the Nitta-Nakayama pair up to fourth place in the overall standings. Nitta also recorded the fastest lap of the race, at 1 minute and 59.252 seconds.
- No. 96 Lexus RC F GT3 K-tunes (Morio Nitta and Yuichi Nakayama)
- Position: 1st
- No. of Laps: 49
- Best Lap: 1'59.252