Nick Cassidy and TOM’s Toyota teammate Ryo Hirakawa have enjoyed a successful return to action as Super GT cut their first laps in over three months at an official pre-season test from Fuji Speedway
The first of the two flat out days of testing as drivers and teams prepare for next month’s season opener was headed by ex-Formula 2 driver Tadasuke Makino in the Honda NSX-GT (main image).
Makino set a 1.27.870 after the chequered flag to pip the second TOM’s Supra of Sacha Fenestraz by a mere 0.034s.
Cassidy and co-driver Hirakawa would end the day fifth fastest overall, three-tenths off the lead as Toyota locked out three of the top five finishing positions.
A day punctuated by five red flag periods, majority of which were caused by the struggling Nissan outfit, it initially seemed the Toyota of Sho Tsuboi would top the session before a myriad of GT500 drivers set their fastest laps in the final ten minutes.
Koudai Tsukakoshi was third-fastest for Real Racing Honda as less than one-tenth would separate the top three at the end of the day.
Fourth fastest was Kenta Yamashita who was filling in for an absent Heikki Kovalainen.
Defending GT500 champion Kazuya Oshima ended the day ninth in the Cerumo Toyota having experienced a more difficult afternoon session after a dominant morning session which saw the team head the timesheets.
The second red flag period involved a bizarre incident which saw the Kondo and Impul Nissans come to a halt on the circuit at the same time at different areas of the track.
The day did not get any better for the Kondo outfit who suffered a second mechanical issue a couple of hours later to bring out yet another stoppage.
Australian racer Jake Parsons ended the GT300 test overall quickest in his Honda NSX GT3.
Both the GT500 and GT300 fields will return today for another full day of testing, the last before the season-opening round from Fuji on July 19.