This week’s Sportscar365 Weekend Racing Roundup features racing from Japan, Malaysia and the U.S. Super GT teams were racing at Fuji Speedway, there was action at Road America for the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup and Prototype Lites teams, while over in Malaysia the first-ever KL City Grand Prix was held in Kuala Lumpur. The Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Asia Series was part of the Malaysian event.
Super GT (GT500)
Round four of the 2015 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series at Fuji Speedway this weekend was won by the Kondo Racing-entered No. 24 D’station Advan Nissan GT-R GT500 driven by Michael Krumm and Daiki Sasaki.
The No. 38 Zent Cerumo RC F had the best start, taking the lead into turn one, with Yuji Tachikawa immediately pulling away from the rest of the field. Behind Tachikawa drivers began to fight for position, allowing the RC F to build up a big lead ahead of the pit stops. After all the teams had stopped Ishiura still led the race in the Zent Cerumo RC F, with the No. 24 D’station Nissan still down in fifth place.
On lap 53 the Nissan took fourth place, the start of a strong run to the front. Having passed a slowing Petronas Tom’s RC F first, the No. 1 Motul Autech Nissan was its next victim on lap 60 and two laps later Kondo Racing driver Sasaki was in the lead. Despite a charge from the back De Oliveira was unable to challenge the top two in the final laps, finishing third.
Race – 1. D’station Advan (D. Sasaki/M. Krumm) Nissan, 2. Zent Cerumo (Y. Tachikawa/H. Ishiura) Lexus, 3. Calsonic Impul (H. Yasuda/J.P.L. De Oliveira) Nissan.
Super GT (GT300)
Round four of the 2015 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series took place at Fuji Speedway this weekend and it was the No. 55 ARTA CR-Z GT driven by Shinichi Takagi and Takashi Kobayashi that took a lights-to-flag victory in the GT300 category.
Takagi started the race from pole position and rapidly pulled away from the second-placed No. 65 Leon Racing Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 of former LMP1 driver Haruki Kurosawa. By lap 10 the ARTA CR-Z GT was already 12 seconds clear of the Mercedes, which was then caught and passed by the other GT300 cars.
At the end of lap 28 Takagi pitted to hand over the CR-Z to Kobayashi. The No. 7 Studie BMW Z4 GT3, which had taken over second place, hit another car, handing second place back to the Leon SLS. Towards the end of the race Kobayashi began to slow down, partly down to the heat, but the Leon SLS was unable to take advantage.
Race – 1. ARTA (S. Takagi/T. Kobayashi) Honda, 2. Leon Racing (H. Kurosawa/N. Gamou) Mercedes, 3. Gainer Tanax (K. Hiranaka/B. Wirdheim) Mercedes.
IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lites
Kenton Koch continued his season domination in the IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lites, after sweeping Rounds 9 and 10 at Road America for his seventh and eighth victories of the season. The Californian led flag-to-flag in both Saturday’s 30-minute and Sunday’s 45-minute races.
On Saturday, Koch stayed out front for the entire 12-lap race from pole and beat teammate Matt McMurry by 1.601 seconds. With Clark Toppe in third, JDC Motorsports completed its third podium sweep of the year (Round 3, NOLA, Round 8, CTMP).
Sunday’s 15-lap affair also saw Koch lead the distance, as several accidents produced yellows to interrupt the flow of the race. McMurry sustained a heavy accident at Canada Corner, while there was also a four-car crash at Turn 5 that put the race under yellow to the checkered.
Koch won under caution from the Performance Tech Motorsports pair of Robert Alon and Austin Versteeg.
Four races remain, two apiece at VIR and Road Atlanta, with Koch more than 40 points clear of Toppe after this weekend’s races. The series heads next to Virginia International Raceway, a week after the TUDOR Championship, August 28-29.
Race 1 — 1. JDC Motorsports (Kenton Koch), 2. JDC Motorsports (Matt McMurry), 3. JDC Motorsports (Clark Toppe), 3. Performance Tech Motorsports (Robert Alon)
Race 2 — 1. JDC Motorsports (Kenton Koch), 2. Performance Tech Motorsports (Robert Alon), 3. Performance Tech Motorsports (Austin Versteeg)
IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama
The weekend sweep theme continued in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA, with Jesse Lazare putting together the fourth weekend sweep in five weekends this season by a driver, and doing so a couple hours away from his Kelly-Moss Motorsports team’s home base in Madison.
Lazare also swept Sebring’s two races, with Angel Benitez Jr. (Watkins Glen) and Elliott Skeer (CTMP) also doing so.
In Saturday’s Round 9 at Road America, Lazare led twice for 17 laps in the 20-lap, 45-minute first race of the weekend and held off Benitez by 3.034 seconds. Skeer’s car failed post-qualifying technical inspection, but the series rookie recovered with a last-to-third drive.
On Sunday, also from pole, this time Lazare led the entirety of the 20-lap, 45-minute race for his fourth win of the season. Benitez was second, just 0.691 of a second back, with Lucas Catania scoring his first career podium in third.
Lazare now moves into the points lead, 154-151, over Skeer. The series heads next to Virginia International Raceway, with the TUDOR Championship, August 21-23.
Race 1 — 1. Kelly-Moss Motorsports (Jesse Lazare), 2. JDX Racing (Angel Benitez Jr.), 3. Wright Motorsports (Elliott Skeer)
Race 2 — 1. Kelly-Moss Motorsports (Jesse Lazare), 2. JDX Racing (Angel Benitez Jr.), 3. NGT Motorsport (Lucas Catania)
Kuala Lumpur City Grand Prix
Japanese driver Naoki Yokomizo, driving a Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo, won the inaugural KL GT City Cup, part of the Kuala Lumpur City Grand Prix on Sunday. Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Frank Yu finished first in GT3 with his Ford GT.
Australia’s Josh Hunt was forced to withdraw from the event with technical problems, having qualified the Kurnia AmAssurance Racing Team Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 on pole. Direction Racing driver Yokomizo inherited pole and kept a charging Fairuz Fauzy – racing a loaner Lamborghini after crashing his own car earlier in the week – behind after 25 laps on the streets of the Malaysian Capital.
Race – 1. Direction Racing (N. Yokomizo) Lamborghini, 2. OD Racing (F. Fauzy) Lamborghini, 3. Craft-Bamboo Racing (F. Yu) Ford.
Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Asia
The Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Asia also raced in Malaysia during the KL City Grand Prix. Two races were held in Kuala Lumpur, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.
Japanese driver Kazuki Hiramine beat Lamborghini Squadra Corse Young Drivers Program graduates Yuan Bo and Eduardo Liberati by 0.886s after 30 laps, while Afiq Yazid, also part of the Young Drivers Program, claimed the Pro-class victory.
On Sunday it was the Pro-Am-class entered Lamborghini Huracán LP620-2 Super Trofeo of Davide Rizzo and Anthony Liu that won the race, the No. 37 entry finishing just 0.991s ahead of Japan’s Toshiyuki Ochiai. Sri Lankan and Indian duo Dilantha Malagamuwa and Armaan Ebrahim finished in third place overall, two seconds behind the race winners.
Race 1 – 1. JLOC (K. Hiramine), 2. Star Racing Team (Y. Bo/E. Liberati), 3. Lamborghini Osaka Racing Team (T. Ochiai).
Race 2 – 1. BBT (A. Liu/D. Rizzo), 2. Lamborghini Osaka Racing Team (T. Ochiai), 3. Dilango Racing (D. Malagamuwa/A. Ebrahim).
Tony DiZinno contributed to this report