Sacha and the Super GT paddock had to wait three months longer than planned to start the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The French-Argentinian driver made the move up to the GT500 class to join Yuhi Sekiguchi at Team au Tom’s in the Toyota GR Supra.
The pair started the weekend well in practice with their best time within two tenths of the fastest lap of the session. Qualifying took place on Sunday before the race, Sekiguchi was able to get the #36 Toyota into the second group to battle for pole position. In his first qualifying session in the GT500 class, Sacha set a rapid lap time that made sure the team would start from third position.
Sacha went behind the wheel to start the first race of the 2020 season. After the first few laps he found himself in fourth but kept in contention to get the place back. By lap 11 of the 66 lap race Sacha was part of a three-way battle for second, with traffic coming up ahead of them.
For Sacha, dealing with the slower GT300 class was going to be a big learning curve in this race.
“It was my first ever stint going through traffic. I knew it was going to be challenging to do without losing too much time or risking too much, but I managed to get used to it pretty quickly.”
It wasn’t long until Sacha reclaimed third place back and was pressuring Naoki Yamamoto in the #100 Honda for second position. Around 10 laps later Sacha was able to move his Toyota into second place, with the #37 KeePer Tom’s car ahead in the lead. Sacha pitted just before the half-way point in a comfortable second place to give the car to his team-mate Sekiguchi.
Sekiguchi and Sacha were given a chance to battle for the lead with the 2017 Super GT champions after the safety car was deployed on lap 38. A strong restart on lap 43 for the leaders meant that Sacha’s team-mate focused on keeping second place.
The #36 took the chequered flag in a strong second place with a two-second gap to third. The result meant that the two Tom’s teams took the top two positions while the top five finishers were all Toyota cars.
The second place matches Sacha’s best-ever Super GT finish from his maiden season in the championship at Buriram and gives him and his team-mate a great start to the 2020 campaign.
“I’m very happy with P2 in my first race in Super GT as a professional driver for Toyota and with the Tom’s team. Yuki also did a very good job after I gave him the car.”
Sacha will return to Fuji in three weeks time for the second race of the Super GT season, before making his Super Formula debut at the end of August.