Lexus Says “Sayonara” to Super GT500 Racing

Lexus ended its participation in Japan’s Super GT500 racing series in memorable fashion. The 8th and final round of the 2019 season took place at Japan’s Twin Ring Motegi (Honda’s home track) on Sunday 3 November. Just past the 32nd lap, a thrilling 3-way battle for the lead developed between the #8 Arta Honda NSX-GT and two of the Lexus LC 500 racers: the #6 Wako’s 4CR and the #37 KeePer TOM’S. Ultimately, the #8 Honda developed shifter problems on Lap 39 and finished the race in next-to-last place.

The #37 KeePer TOM’s Lexus LC 500 driven by Ryo Hirakawa and Nick Cassidy went on to win the race and the Team Championship title for the 2019 season. The #6 Wako’s 4CR Lexus LC 500 finished in second place, but results from previous races secured the Drivers’ Championship for the 2019 season for Kazuya Oshima and Kenta Yamashita. The Lexus podium sweep was made complete by the #36 au TOM’S racer driven by Toyota WEC stalwart Kazuki Nakajima and Yuhi Sekiguchi. As icing on the cake, 4th place also went to a Lexus LC 500 team, the #38, Zent Cerumo car driven by Yuji Tachikawa and Hiroaki Ishiura.

While it’s sad to see the Lexus LC 500 retire from the Japan Super GT500 racing series in favor of its Toyota Supra cousin, it serves as consolation seeing the Lexus effort end on such a high note. Here are the 2019 season’s final rankings for Lexus drivers and teams competing in the GT500 class:

1. #6 Kazuya Oshima / Kenta Yamashita 85 pts
2. #37 Ryo Hirakawa / Nick Cassidy 83 pts
4. #38 Yuji Tachikawa / Hiroaki Ishiura 46.5 pts
5. #39 Heikki Kovalainen / Yuichi Nakayama 44 pts
7. #36 Kazuki Nakajima / Yuhi Sekiguchi 38 pts
11. #19 Yuji Kunimoto / Sho Tsuboi 27.5 pts

1. #37 LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM’S 107 pts
4. #38 LEXUS TEAM ZENT CERUMO 65.5 pts
5. #39 LEXUS TEAM SARD 64 pts
8. #36 LEXUS TEAM au TOM’S 53 pts
11. #19 LEXUS TEAM WedsSport BANDOH 46.5 pts

While we bid a bittersweet farewell to Lexus Super GT500 racing, it appears likely that the marque will continue competing in the Super GT300 series via privateer teams running the Lexus RC F GT3. We should know more in February 2020 when Toyota issues its annual Motorsports Activities report.