Team Hitotsuyama and Richard Lyons have gotten off to an arguably testing start to this years SuperGT championship, persistent mechanical gremlins and some outright bad luck has meant that they find themselves on the backfoot for this next round of GT300. After a year away from the racing calendar due to the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes, we see the return of SuperGT to one of Japans most unique tracks, Autopolis International Circuit, a track dominated by great elevation changes and sweeping corners along its 4.6km stretch. Lyons has been a winner on the top step here before at Autopolis and this Sunday will be looking to draw on his experiences to win his team some valuable points and get the season back on track.
Richard Lyons: “Fuji didn’t work out like we had planned, we disappointedly finished 14th. The weekend had started well seeing us inside the top 6 throughout practice and having quite a bit of time still left in our pocket. Fuji 500KM is a race that plays into strategy and this is perhaps what kept us from scoring better points. We had selected the harder compound in qualifying with the view that we could outpace our competitors in the hot first stint of the 500Km. Qualifying proved difficult, but we met our target of getting into the top 14. The race started off ok, but within the first few laps it was apparent that we were battling a braking problem, I tried to change the settings available to me from inside the car but nothing helped. From early on we knew we could not challenge for the top positions and had to choose a safe run home to the flag. – This weekend sees us return to Autopolis after a years absence… A lot of our competitors were lucky enough to test at this venue last month so it would seem we are a little on the back foot. However I feel our R8 should be well suited to the medium – high speed combination sweeps and turns. Seeing as it’s been a less than competitive start so far and that the B.O.P (“Balance Of Performance”, a system designed to encourage fairness and parity between GT cars) is favouring most of the other cars, we need to enter this weekend with a more realistic target. I think a top 8 finish this time out would be great, taking into consideration the above facts. But…. This won’t stop me from aiming for the podium or the win, its the only reason I drive!”