SuperGT Round 1 Okayama International Circuit.
The 2017 SuperGT series begins, as is always traditional, with the remote mountain setting of the Okayama International Circuit. This circuit has been favourable to the Audi R8 in the past and means that straight out of the blocks Ulsterman Richard Lyons and new team mate Masataka Yanagida have every opportunity to start the season as they mean to go on.
“Finally! The first race of the season is upon us! I’m really pumped to get back at it again after being on such a high from winning in the last few races of 2016 and finishing 3rd in the SuperGT Championship. Last seasons placing has really motivated Audi Team Hitotsuyama and we’re ready to start the season on a high. There have been a few changes in the team over the winter period, the main change being that I now have a new team mate, Masataka Yanagida who has 4 Super GT titles to his name. We have been working really well together in preseason testing and I expect him to be able to support us on reaching our goal of being champions! Another major change is our engineer, Pierre Arnaud. Pierre will still oversee things from Europe and join us for Suzkuka 1000km but he has been replaced by Miguel Galvez, who was actually my engineer when I competed for AF Corse in Europe in 2014. Miguel just recently joined WRT so it seemed the perfect fit when we realised Pierre was unavailable, so far we’ve all really gelled and the team looks in great shape.
Our Audi R8 LMS is still fitted with Dunlops so we have been able to build on last years experience and hopefully this gives us a stronger starting position than last season. I feel Okayama is a great circuit for the Audi R8 LMS and I think as a team we’re ready to fight for a podium from very the get go.”
About Richard Lyons:
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.bBut 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.