The moment we heard about Aucklander Nick Cassidy pedalling a Lexus RC-F Super GT car, we were excited to see the young gun’s progress overseas in Japan. Cassidy had managed to score a drive with TOM’s Racing, who you will no doubt remember from the likes of Gran Turismo as the pinnacle of Toyota tuning. 

Partnered with the legendary Daisuke Ito, the duo qualified in ninth place, and, come race time, Cassidy charged to eighth place, which he held until his driver changeover to Daisuke.

With Daisuke behind the wheel, placings improved once more, and this time fourth place was solidified for the team. However, once the other teams did their driver changeover and refuel, Daisuke dropped back to eighth place, which was their final position for the  300km race. 

“It was a solid race today,” said Cassidy. “I kept the car straight for Daisuke. It was a nice debut, we had good pace with much more potential but missed crucial track position. We already have our eyes set on the Fuji 500kms at the start of May.”

In the end, the race was won by defending champions Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli in a Nissan GT-R, followed by the Lexus RC-F driven by James Rossiter and Ryo Hirakawa, with another Nissan GT-R driven by Satoshi Motoyama and Katsumasa Chiyo finalizing the podium.

The team are already preparing for the next Super GT round, which will be a staggering 500km, held May 4. We’ll have more then, so stay tuned. 

Photos: Toyota Gazoo Racing

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.