Carlo van Dam in TOM’s Lexus SC430

05-08-08

At the Motegi circuit, Carlo van Dam last week tested a Lexus SC430 of the Petronas Toyota Team TOM’s, which races in the fastest (GT500) class of the prestigious Japanese Super GT championship. Immediately after the test, Carlo was selected as the team’s third and reserve driver for the Suzuka 1000 KM, the most important Super GT-race of the year.

“Following my results in the Japanese Formula 3 series to date, I was invited to test the Lexus SC430 for the Suzuka 1000 KM”, Carlo says. “Super GT is Japan’s premier motor racing championship, with all three major car manufacturers competing in it, and the Suzuka 1000 KM is the most important race of the year. Given the length and duration of the race, teams tend to put a third driver on stand by. At Suzuka I will have to run in free practice and qualifying, so that I can jump in the car during the race if necessary.”

“The test at Motegi went well. I was set to run for twenty minutes at the end of each session on both days, but due to an engine problem and a red flag, I did not do a lot of laps in the end. However, on used tyres and with quite a lot of fuel, I still managed to get within a second of regular driver Andre Lotter’s best time and he had been running on soft tyres and with a low fuel load. So the team was happy and for me driving this car was a fantastic experience. These are serious cars, very powerful: the GT500’s are quicker than DTM-cars and at Suzuka they are a few seconds a lap faster than a Formula 3. Super GT is very popular here, even the test attracted many spectators! All in all this was a nice and educational day and of course it is great that the team rewards my performance in Formula 3 by offering me this opportunity.”

The Suzuka 1000 KM, won last year by Toyota Team TOM’s, is scheduled for August 24.

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