The #38 ZENT CERUMO Lexus RC F Of Yuji Tachikawa and Hiroaki Ishiura fought through from eighth on the grid to win the 45th edition of the Suzuka 1000km. The duo had to push hard through tough on-track conditions, with parts of the track wet at the start from rain early in the morning, and showers at the end of the race.
“I was really baffled when the rain started falling again at the end of the race,” said Ishiura. “In the last chicane I wasn’t able to stop. But, I am glad that I was able to get to the checkered flag first.
“Until now, this has been a difficult season for us, but I kept telling myself that with [Yuji] Tachikawa-san as my teammate there is no way that we can’t win, and I kept trying my best. I am really glad that we were able to get this win.”
At the start, the pole-sitting #15 Drago Modulo NSX CONCEPT-GT of Hideki Mutoh got off to a good start and held the lead, but chasing hard from eighth position on the grid was the #38 ZENT CERUMO RC F with Tachikawa at the wheel for the start.
With its clear speed advantage on the wet parts of the track, the ZENT CERUMO Lexus stormed through the field, eventually taking the lead of the race on lap 17. Behind, the Nissan GT-R cars gave chase, but the No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R was forced to retire after the car caught on fire, and the #46 S Road CRAFTSPORTS GT-R lost ground due to a penalty stop.
With these setbacks, it was the #36 au TOM’S RC F with Daisuke Ito and Nick Cassidy driving ended up inheriting second position around the halfway mark after starting the race down in 11th.
As rain fell again in the latter stages of the race, the pair of leading RC Fs ended up coning together on track, with an almighty scrap breaking out which saw the ZENT CERUMO car of Ishiura lose the lead of the race multiple times before an off on the last lap. In the end though, the au TOM’S Lexus couldn’t take control and had to settle for second.
Third was eventually the #46 S Road CRAFTSPORTS GT-R which had Mitsunori Takaboshi starting in his first GT500 race alongside Satoshi Motoyama. Fourth and fifth were taken by the WAKO’S and WedSpot LEXUS RC F’s respectively, with the reigning champion #1 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R sixth.
In the GT300 class, Subaru R&D Sport took the win after Takuto Iguchi and Hideki Yamauchi put in almost faultless driver after starting the race second in the #61 BRZ. The car did however have a late race scare, running off the track following a collision. It marked the car’s first win in the Suzuka 1000km, and Subaru’s third as a manufacturer.
“It was a very long haul, but I am glad we won,” Iguchi said. “This win came because of the team’s hard work. Today’s spin-out came when I was bumped during my stint, but I told myself not to give up and to keep pushing to the end.
“The timing was fortunate when the Safety Car came out, and (with the exception of spinning out after being bumped by another car) it was a perfect race in one sense.”
Completing the podium was the TOYOTA PRIUS apr GT of Koki Saga and Yuchi Nakayama ahead of the #0 GAINER TANAX Nissan GT-R of Andre Couto and Ryuichiro Tomita.
Next up on the Super GT calendar is the round at Thailand on the 8th and 9th of October.