SUPER GT Rd. 8 Motegi

From P13 to P2 on podium and 2014 Series Ranking 2nd place result for A. Caldarelli, O. Jarvis with a P9 finish in the season’s closing round


14gt8-12014 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, since opening the season back in April of this year, has now come to its final Round 8, “MOTEGI GT 250KM RACE”.


It was exactly in such season’s opening race where the team, LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM’S with Andrea Caldarelli, wowed everyone with a special victory, indeed a commemorative win where everybody in the GT500 class began the season with completely new machines, all at once. And with high achievements made continuously from there and onwards, eventually the weight handicap (WH) got imposed — against which the team had to struggle a bit. In this last round however, such WH requirements were finally lifted off, and the team got ready to fight in the pack of title-contenders narrowed down to five teams by this point.



As for Oliver Jarvis with LEXUS TEAM SARD, including himself everybody in the team arrived in Motegi this weekend all rev’ed up, with high hopes to fight hard, see fine results and finish this one season in a good note. By all means, this was truly a “big round” of challenge for both GRM drivers to bring their respective SUPER GT year to successful conclusions.


These big-event days staged at Twin Ring Motegi (in Tochigi Prefecture) were blessed with fine weather on both days. Numbers of GT fans crowded the place, eager to follow the exciting battle take place and witness that very moment this year’s Champion gets decided. (Audience: 15,500 / 15th SAT., 32,000 / 16th SUN.)



November 15 (SAT)  Official Qualifying


14gt8-13Following the official tests from the day before, Twin Ring Motegi under sunny autumn weather started the day with a Free Practice session (9:00 – 11:00, Air temp. 10 deg. C / Track temp. 15 deg. C). No. 37 LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM’S finished the session in P11 (1’40.034), and No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD RC F in P13 (1’40.339).


Then, from 13:45, 15 cars of GT500 class began the 1st set (Q1) of the qualifying attempts. However, just 10 minutes into the session, it had to be interrupted with a red flag, due to trouble occurring on other machines.


As the session resumed, No. 39’s Hiroaki Ishiura headed out to the field to make Q1 time-attempts for the team, and though giving a strong push throughout, time did not improve as much and the team in P11 (1’40.533), could not advance to Q2.


14gt8-10Oliver Jarvis

“We have been trying various things since yesterday but could not solve the understeer that happens midway into the turns, so it’s been tough. With hopes that things will turn out differently and better in the race, we will give our best in the race tomorrow!”








Meanwhile, the time-attacker on No. 37, Daisuke Ito was pushing hard in P11, but spun off on the 3rd corner which cost the team to admit the time 1’47.512 marked up to that point as their best, and finish their Saturday in P13.


Andrea Caldarelli

“GT-Rs have always been quick, but so is the LEXUS force when it comes to the race. For tomorrow we have to start from the back and catch up, but just watch us give a strong push from the very start!”




November 16 (SUN)  RACE


14gt8-PWTwin Ring Motegi becoming the battleground for this closing race of the season was again blessed with fantastic weather from early morning. With everybody finalizing their setups eyeing the Race to come later on in the day, Free Practice (from 9:15 to 9:45am) got underway. No. 37 recorded a P13 time (1’42.275) and No. 39 (1’42.827) placed 15th from this session.


Soon as the clock ticked 13:00, 53 laps (250km) of the final battle got underway.





14gt8-3In the GT500 class, Andrea Caldarelli commanding LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM’ SP13 took a rolling start from P13 made a quick jump-up to P9 already in the opening lap! In the 4th lap, this determined Italian driver in P8 joined the pack of those battling for P4, then on the 10th lap as climbing to P5 Andrea caught up with no. 36 PETRONAS TOM’S RC F running ahead in P4, and began a tail-to-nose battle. On Lap 14 at last, with a beautiful overtaking job Andrea reached P4 at last! From there on and for a while, No. 37 kept pushing its best to minimize the gap between itself and no. 23 (MOTUL AUTECH GT-R) leading the race at the time. And gradually by finishing up their 19th lap, made a somewhat early pit stop, changed all four (4) tyres, refueled, and then the steer was entrusted to teammate Daisuke Ito.

14gt8-9By the point of 34 laps done, all the cars had finished making pit stops while No. 37 was running in P3. Ito aiming at getting the top position, passed no. 19 (WedSport ADVAN RC F), which decided to go with no tyre-change, and further climbed to P2. By then, the gap between itself and no. 23 fighting for the series champion title was 40 seconds…. But car no. 23 maintained its utmost speed, never loosening reins till the very end. Hence, No. 37 following closely finished this race in 2nd place.

Based on this result, T. Matsuda / R. Quintarelli were crowned with the series champion title of 2014, and Andrea Caldarelli / Daisuke Ito with just 2 points behind, resulted with a 2nd place in the series championship as well.


14gt8-6Andrea Caldarelli

“To start from P13 and finishing in P2, we have enjoyed today’s race. It’s only regretful that we could not reach the title with only 2 points behind, but anyway car 23 was just unbelievably fast today and there was simply no way to pass them. We did do everything we could in the battle, so no regrets.

Looking back on the whole season, we can say it was a good season with everyone in the team working as one, always aiming the championship title. We are also happy to finish the season at the top of all LEXUS & Bridgestone team, and want to thank all the fans for their grand support throughout the year! Thank you very much!”



14gt8-11Starting driver of LEXUS TEAM SARD today, Oliver Jarvis ran the early laps of the race in P11, but struggled with the car still not at its right setting. Not being able to position up like they wanted to, after 22 laps down the car was handed to Hiroaki Ishiura in P12. Ishiura gave his best to push KOBELCO SARD RC F, continued to drive consistently clinging on to the position, then on the 40th lap climbed one notch up to P10. Further, at the point of 2 laps remaining, No. 37 overtook another car and was chequer-flagged in P9 in this last Super GT round of 2014.



14gt8-14Oliver Jarvis

“We struggled all weekend through. Machine balance was never right and we could not gain a good pace like we wanted from the qualifying, and this only added to my frustration. As a result, today’s race continued to be difficult for us still, and we couldn’t use our strategies. Even then, Hiro (Hiroaki Ishiura) did an excellent job and we were able to finish the race with points gained.

This season, I came back to Japan which is my favorite place to race and participated in the SUPER GT. I’m finding that this Series is very high levelled, and here supported by its many fans as well, I really enjoyed being part of this race series. I want to thank LEXUS, TEAM SARD, and teammate Hiro for providing me these chances.”






In the same weekend but over at Macau GP, GRM driver Andre Couto took part in the “Macau GT Cup” (the last round of GT ASIA) with DIRECTION RACING, driving Ferrari 458 Italia GT3. It turned out to be quite a tough race participated by the Works teams such as Mercedes and Audi, and for Couto behind the wheels of Ferrari for the very first time, drove strong, started from P17 and finished in P13after 12 laps of the race.





Photos by TOSHIKAZU MORIYAMA & Direction Racing