We certainly knew the Lexus RC-F was one serious machine after we clocked up a fair distance in one at the beginning of the year ourselves, but Lexus team drivers Andrea Caldarelli and Ryo Hirakawa have just confirmed our findings with a final round win of Japan’s Super GT series at Twin Ring Motegi on November 14.

Very wet weather slowed the pace at the beginning of the race, however once the track dried out in the second half, it was the GT500-spec TOM’s RC-F that would ultimately take the win, half a second in front of Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli in their GT-R. Third place went to Naoki Yamamoto and Takuya Izawa, who were also driving a GT-R.

The winning duo is the only Super GT–series team to win two rounds in the series, with their first win in April during the debut round. This podium puts the team in fifth for the season.

Andrea Caldarelli says, “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 tyre choice, and when we chose the hard tyres, 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.”

Ryo Hirakawa said of the race win, “In today’s [November 14] race, the safety car came out during my stint in the second half, and that all but eliminated the lead I had over the second-place car. But I was then able to enjoy battling with my rivals. I am just very happy that we were able to win this last race of the season.”

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.