Our podium start to the 2015 Autobacs Super GT Championship season here at Okayama Circuit nestled in the misty mountains of Japan didn’t come easy, not very easy at all!
The weather kept us guessing in every session, trying to guess what the weather would do was like herding Cats, just impossible!
As the team walked out and onto the grid we were still not sure which tyre choice we should go for. The weather forecast basically gave us a bit of everything so we brought intermediate, wet and dry tires to cover all of our bases and therefore make sure the weather wouldn’t get the better of our preparations and spoil our hard work!When It was clear that intermediates were the choice to begin the race on as there was no rain just a damp track, we only had one problem left and that was the big grey clouds above us and they were still playing with us and threatening all the rainy badness they may or may not bring if they decided to leak all over Okayama.
Straight from the green light at the rolling start, I knew we were on the money and down for a great race as I was able to pass the other drivers in front of my R8 any which way I wanted and I gained a fair few places on the first lap alone.
Soon into the race- around lap 11- I was involved in the battle for third with a massive machine in the form of Andre Couto’s Gainer GTR, a great fight which really showed the differences that make the GT300 field so interesting to watch for all you motorsports fans out there and so great to race in as a driver!
The GTR being a beast in the straights and my R8 being nimble and nippy and possibly one of the best cars on the track under braking into the corners. This all came together for a great scrap which lasted over three laps in which I advanced past him in true wheel to wheel grit fashion and like the terminator started to hunt down the remaining top two.
Audi Team Hitotsuyama now stand third in the title race. It’s early days but the future is looking good.
Now we are looking onwards and upwards for Fuji Speedway round 2. With a weight handicap in place its going to be another challenge but one our team will relish. We will be looking for another great result thats for sure!
See you at the track for the next round of SuperGT!
About Richard Lyons:
Born In 1979 in Hillsborough Northern Ireland Richard started on his racing career at an early age with Karting. After winning at every level of Karting from Cadet to Senior it was time to move up.
In 1996 Richard moved into the the junior ranks of Formula Junior Vauxhall in Britain. Winning the 1996 winter championship in his first season was a great result and the next three years Lyons rose the ranks. Finishing third in 1997 and winning the prestigious young driver of the year award. 98 & 99 proved to be even better years with Richard recording two consecutive second place championship finishes and also winning the young driver of the year for the second season in a row.
In 2000, Lyons moved up and appeared in Formula Renault and and selected British GT rounds until in 2001 he got the call from Japan that would see him race in another of the worlds motorsport meccas for the first time.
Starting out with Team Morinaga in the open wheel series of Formula Nippon he was soon then picked up by Team Dandelion DoCoMo and in his time with the team he picked up the 2004 drivers championship and a championship third place in 2005
Here in Japan Richard would make his mark as one of the worlds top drivers. During this time Lyons also drove GT500, Japans premier GT series, enjoying just as much success in GT500 as Formula Nippon. Winning the 2004 Drivers GT500 championship and Formula Nippon in the same season placed him among the top drivers around with this feat only being acheived by a handfull of people.
Through the next six seasons in Japan Richard continued to consistently be amongst the fastest drivers in both GT and open wheel, resulting in over 26 podium finishes in the seasons to follow.
Born In 1979 in Hillsbourgh Northern Ireland Richard started on his racing career at an early age with Karting. After winning at every level of Karting from Cadet to Senior it was time to move up.
In 1996 Richard moved into the the junior ranks of Formula Junior Vauxhall in Britain.
Winning the 1996 winter championship in his first season was a great result and the next three years Lyons rose the ranks.
1997 finishing third and winning the prestigious young driver of the year award.
98 & 99 proved to be even better years with Richard recording two consecutive second place championship finishes and also winning the young driver of the year for the second season in a row.
Although primarily Racing in Japan Richard had brief periods between teams to compete in various other race series’ around the world.
Racing for Ireland in the short lived international A-1 open wheeled series along side some of the best drivers from Indy Car and F-1 aswell as taking his skills down under to win in Australia in their V8 supercars championship, winning at the Gold Coast 600.
But after a brief Hiatus in Japan, Richard Lyons returned as Team leader of a famous Racing house in GT300 here in Japan By the name of “Hitotsuyma Racing” a team well known for its racing history and with hopes of building a team and leaving his mark.
In 2014 Richard had a busy racing season ahead, racing in an amazing 3 GT series across the globe, GT Asia, SuperGT, and British GT.
Hitostsuyama Racing retain his services for the Autobacs Super GT Championship in 2015 at the wheel of their Audi R8.
Image from Ishibashi Michinao