Belfast Telegraph

Lyons aims to enhance record at Autopolis

By Sammy Hamill

Richard Lyons will take 'endurance' racing to a whole new level this weekend.

Not only has he flown halfway around the world but he will drive in three long distance races at the Autopolis circuit which is located on the island of Kyushu, off Japan's southern coast.

Lyons spent much of the past decade living and racing in Japan, where he won both the Formula Nippon and Japanese GT championships, but is now based back home in Northern Ireland.

However, he is still in demand in the Far East and this weekend he will drive in both the Japanese Super GT series for the Hitotsuyama Audi team and for Craft Bamboo Racing in the GT Asia championship.

He flew out to Japan at the beginning of the week and has been testing with both teams at the Kawasaki-owned Autopolis track, driving an Audi R8 for Hitotsuyama and a GT3 Aston Martin Vantage for Bamboo.

"I've shaken off the jet lag now and I'm looking forward to getting down to racing. I've won here in the past in Super GT and it is also a strong track for both Audi and Aston Martin," said Lyons, who made a strong start by topping the times in both unofficial practice sessions yesterday.

Bamboo are third in the Asian series and Lyons has been drafted in to partner regular driver Frank Yu, who said: "Richard and I have worked together a few times already so he is no stranger. We won the Fuji round of the Asian Le Mans together last year and we both know the Autopolis circuit very well, so we will try our best to aim for an overall win."

After the two GT Asia races on Saturday and Sunday, Lyons will team up with rising Japanese star Tomonobu Fujii to contest the 500km Super GT round on Sunday afternoon.

He and Fujii finished eighth in round one at Okayama but Lyons opted out of round two at Mount Fuji because of a date clash with the British GT championship. They clash again with a British round at Silverstone but this time Lyons has chosen to race in Japan.

Belfast Telegraph

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