SUPER GT Rd.3 Autopolis

Andre Couto’s first race for SUPER GT this season, resulted in a 7th place finish starting from 16th. Andrea Caldarelli qualified for 6th, unfortunately finished in 13th.

17gt3-Grand stand2017 AUTOBACS SUPER GT Round 3 “SUPER GT IN KYUSHU 300km” took place in Autopolis, located in the verdurous mountain region of Aso (altitude 4,674m). Many GT fans enjoyed this long-awaited event, which was held for the first time in 2 years, due to the aftermath of the earthquake which hit Kumamoto prefecture on April of last year.

(Official attendance figures: May 20 (SAT) 10,470 / May 21 (SUN), 18,200)







May 20 (SAT) – Official Qualifying


17gt3-CAL2The official qualifying day was welcomed by clear and sunny skies, which hinted the start to the summer season (outside temperature 25℃), with temperatures so warm that the circuit addressed for spectating fans to take caution to heatstroke. 15 cars of the GT500 class and 30 cars of the GT 300 class proceeded to the 1h 45m official practice session which started from 9:00.


In the GT500 class, LEXUS TEAM LEMANS WAKO’S Andrea Caldarelli and Kazuya Oshima made final adjustments to their WAKO’S 4CR LC500 (LEXUS LC500/Bridgestone/WH60kg*), finishing the session in P5 (1’34.948).


*Fuel flowing restrictor

In GT500 class when the handicap weight (success ballast) given has exceeded 50kg, weight handicap will be replaced by controlling the fuel flow through control of the restrictor.


17gt3-COU5Andre Couto, joining the series for the first time this season driving for D’station Racing (GT300), climbed onto the D’station Porche (Porche 911 GT3/Yokohama/WH24kg) along with his teammate Tomonobu Fujii, with a P13 record (1’45.818), and proceeded to the qualifying round.


The day’s event then moved onto the official qualifying round. (outside temperature 26℃ / track temperature 41℃)


For the first qualifying session of the GT300 class (Q1 13:30-13:53), Andre Couto was appointed to drive the No.33 car for D’station Racing. Although he pushed as hard as he could without making any mistakes, the time record was only good for P16 (1’46.016), and could not advance to Q2.


17gt3-COU6Andre Couto

“The car felt very good at the practice session in the morning, so I expected better results. However, the front tires lacked grip in Q1, so we were not able to advance to Q2. Anyways, we will focus on the race tomorrow to make a comeback.”





For Q1 of the GT500 class (14:00-14:15), LEXUS TEAM LEMANS WAKO’S assigned Kazuya Oshima as the driver of car No.6, who marked 1’35.549 which was good for P7, and proceeded to Q2. In Q2, Andrea Caldarelli took the wheel and finished the session in P7 with (1’35.549). After the qualifying session, a penalty was imposed on a car which attempted a time attack while the yellow flag was effective, which placed car No.6 on the 3rd row of the grid for the start of the race.


Andrea Caldarelli

“There was a difference in the feeling of the car compared to the morning, so it was a tough qualifying session. However, considering the WH, it’s not too bad of a result. We will do our best for the race tomorrow!”


May 21 (SUN) Race


17gt3-COU3The race day was also welcomed by warm sunny weather, as temperature during the 20 minute warm-up session from 12:25 was recorded 23℃ for outside and 36℃ on the track. Under perfect weather for racing, at 14:00, the 65-lap race got underway.


Andre Coute, driving for D’station Racing, started on the 8th row of the grid for the GT300 class. Although it was his first race on the D’station Porsche (car No.33), Andre raced through the tracks driving skillfully without making any mistakes. He moved his way up 5 positions by the time the SC run was declared after an accident which occurred when the leading group of the GT500 class were making their way into the 5th lap. After that, he climbed up to P9 and returned to the pit finishing his 26th lap. His teammate Tomonobu Fujii, who then took the wheel, strove to the finish and was chequered for P7.


17gt3-COU7Andre Couto

“We started out on P16 and finished in P7. It means a lot to me that I could contribute to earn valuable points (4pt) for the team. The aesthetics of this circuit did not exactly match the characteristics of the porche, so it was not a machine which we could aim for 1st place. However, it was great that Tomo (Tomonobu Fujii) and I could make our way up the ladder on such a challenging layout with so few areas for overtaking. We will aim for a higher achievement in SUGO!”






17gt3-CAL1Andrea Caldarelli, appointed as the starting driver for LEXUS TEAM LEMEAS WAKO’S, defended his P6 position. However, the No.6 car bearing WH receded to P8 half way into the race. After completing 31 laps, WAKO’S 4CR LC500 was handed off to Kazuya Oshima. After a swift execution by the pit crew, the No.6 car recovered onto the track as provisional P6. Oshima kept pushing, overtaking a competitor on the 46th lap, and also accompanied by a car which retired from the course, he made his way up to P4. Pursuing this momentum, Oshima strove for P3, until his car came in slight contact with another car! Damages caused by this incident caused WAKO’S 4CR LC500 to gradually slow its pace down and eventually return to the pit with only 3 laps to left complete the race. The team was not able to send the car back onto the course, finishing the race in P13.


17gt3-CAL4Andrea Caldarelli

“It was unfortunate that we had to end the race the way we did. The race was very challenging, with a lot of contact and fighting throughout my stint. I was lucky enough not to bear any damage, but Kazuya seemed to have taken a hit on the tires, resulting in an unfortunate finish to our race. Even so, this is what happens in a race. We will definitely make a comeback in the next event!”


The next AUTOBACS SUPER GT Round 4 of this season will be staged at Sportsland SUGO over July 22nd and 23rd.