Dubai, UAE, December 6, 2015 – The No. 37 KeePer TOM'S Lexus RC F driven by Andrea Caldarelli and Ryo Hirakawa won the final round in the GT 500 class at the 2015 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series, which was held recently at the Twin Ring Motegi in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. In tricky conditions with the track wet in the early stages and dry in the latter half, the team managed a creditable win while starting from pole position at the beginning of the race.
Rainfall about 30 minutes before the start of the race meant that the track was completely wet resulting in all the cars starting the race on rain tires. Midway through the race on the 18th lap, the rain stopped and sun came out which led some of the teams to bring their cars back into the pits for a driver change. A few laps later, a collision between two cars resulted in the Safety Car coming onto the track. At the end of the 31st lap, the Safety Car returned to the pit lane and the race restarted.
In addition to the cars from eighth position downwards, which were effectively one lap behind considering the pit stop time, seven cars led by the No. 37 KeePer TOM'S RC F driven by Ryo Hirakawa and his competitors, were all bunched at the front with less than one second in track time between them. This effectively turned the last 20 laps into a sprint race. The race went down to the wire which thrilled the spectators in the stands. It remained a battle in which no car was able to make a decisive move. Holding strongly onto the lead, Hirakawa brought the No. 37 KeePer TOM'S RC F home to its second victory of the season.
“This was a great victory for the team and a reminder of the outstanding racing capabilities of the Lexus RC F,” said Takayuki Yoshitsugu, Chief Representative, Middle East and North Africa Representative Office, TOYOTA Motor Corporation. “Motorsports has played a vital role in the evolution of car making at Lexus since our inception, giving us significant insights into our cars and their performance in extreme conditions on the race track. This in turn has helped us build ever better cars like the Lexus RC F. We also appreciate the support of our fans and their constant encouragement for our racing initiatives.”
Speaking on the occasion, Andrea Caldarelli, said, “I'm very happy that we got this win. We were able to run very well in today's race. The track was wet at the start, so we had trouble with the tire choice, and when we chose the hard tires, things were a bit tough at first. Despite that, I was able to open up a gap over the rest of the field by pushing as hard as I could. The timing of the pit stop also went very well, and I think that was an important factor.”