Aucklander Nick Cassidy has signed to compete with iconic Japanese team, TOM’S, he will be one of four drivers in the TOM’S team driving one of their two factory supported Lexus RC-F race cars in the Japanese Super GT (GT500) race series.
Considered the world’s fastest touring car series, Super GT consists of two categories, GT500 and GT300 which run simultaneously over an eight round championship. Cassidy will compete in the top tier GT500 class which is the ultimate showcase for Japanese vehicle manufacturers Lexus, Honda and Nissan, Japan’s Super GT and Europe’s DTM series are similar in concept and design and feature many of the worlds top drivers.
Still only 21 years old Cassidy has had an extremely successful career to date, he is twice New Zealand Toyota Racing Series champion, he is the reigning 2015 Japanese Formula 3 Champion driving for the TOM’S Toyota team and made several successful guest appearances in the FIA European Formula 3 series with the championship winning Prema Powerteam.
“It is every young drivers dream to become a Factory supported racing driver, so I am extremely proud to be joining Lexus TOM’S team this year. I know I have a steep learning curve ahead of me, but I am ready to do everything that is possible to learn off those around me. I am fortunate to be sharing the car with Daiske Ito, he is an extremely experienced driver in Super GT. I am not underestimating the challenge ahead – but one I am really looking forward to.” said Cassidy from the announcement in Japan.
GT500 race distances vary between 300km – 1000km over the course of the championship, which have unique challenges. The need to navigate past the slower GT300 traffic, plus various tyre strategies supplied by four tyre manufacturers with unlimited compound and constructions, presents motorsport’s largest tyre competition.
Adding excitement, but also complexity to team strategy is the emphasis on performance ballast. A driver pairing’s added ballast (in Kg) is equal to the amount of points they have in the championship. Cassidy joins former GT500 Champion Daiske Ito to share the driving duties over the 8 round series – of which only two of the circuits will be new to Cassidy, after having competed in Japanese F3. These are, Autopolis in Japan and Bariram in Thailand.
Cassidy will kick start his Super GT campaign in early April at Okayama.