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Weekly Racing Roundup (3.19.18)

Super GT test at Okayama and Norma becomes second LMP3 Cup manufacturer…

Photo: Super GT

Lexus Team LeMans Wako’s Quickest in First Super GT Test

Kazuya Oshima topped the timesheets for Lexus Team LeMans Wako’s in the first Super GT test of the season at Okayama on Saturday and Sunday.

He posted a best lap time of 1:18.017 on Saturday afternoon, during the second of four sessions, in his No. 6 Lexus LC 500.

Oshima will share the car with Felix Rosenqvist for the rest of the season although the Swede was absent from the test due to a clash with the ABB FIA Formula E Championship Punta del Este E-Prix. 

The 2007 GT300 champion’s time was 0.109 seconds faster than the Okayama course record set by Ryo Hirakawa in 2016.

The Real Racing Honda NSX-GT was the second-quickest car of the test, driven by Koudai Tsukakoshi and Takashi Kogure.

Takamitsu Matsui and Sho Tsuboi led the way in the GT300 class with their Toyota 86 MC run by Tsuchiya Engineering, with a best time of 1:25.328.

RESULTS: Session 1; Session 2; Session 3; Session 4

News & Notes

***Following the two-day Super GT test at Okayama, another is scheduled for this weekend at Fuji Speedway on March 24-25, ahead of the season-opener at Okayama on April 7-8. Another test will take place at Suzuka on the Monday and Tuesday after the following weekend (April 16-17), while another midseason test is scheduled for Oct. 7-8 at Twin Ring Motegi.

***Norma Automotive will become the second manufacturer represented in the LMP3 Cup Championship with a single Norma M30 Nissan fielded by Mectech Motorsport this year. Bradley Smith and Duncan Williams will pilot the car, which is the first non-Ligier entry in the series which is set for its second full season this year.

***Fraser Ross’ return to the CAMS Australian GT Championship has been confirmed after claiming his maiden win at Sandown Park Raceway last year. He will drive the YNA Autosport McLaren 650S GT3, again prepared by McElrea Racing, for the full six-round season. The Australian GT season gets underway this weekend at Albert Park in Melbourne.

***KCMG has announced a third car for the Blancpain GT Series Asia with the Hong Kong-based team set to run an Audi R8 LMS GT3 in the Am Cup for Naoto Takeda and Takuya Shirasaka as well as its pair of new 2018-spec Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s.

***Team Parker Racing will run a Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the British GT Championship in addition to its pair of Bentley Continental GT3s this season. Nick Jones and Scott Malvern return to the team after driving its Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR last year but have made the switch to Mercedes machinery for the 2018 season.

***BMW Motorsport Juniors Beitske Visser and Nico Menzel will compete in the GT4 European Series, driving a BMW M4 GT4 run by RN Vision STS. Visser was part of the lineup that gave the car a debut victory in the championship last season while Menzel has the 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia title to his name.

***The TCR formula will make its debut appearance in the Pirelli World Challenge this weekend with a pair of 40-minute sprint races at Circuit of The Americas. Fourteen entries are listed, including teams representing Alfa Romeo, Audi, Honda, Hyundai and Volkswagen.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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