Nick Cassidy has turned down an offer to race in DTM – the German Touring Car Championship – in 2019 and will continue to drive for Lexus and Toyota in Japan’s two premier classes, Super GT and Super Formula respectively.
“DTM is a bit shaky at the moment and I wasn’t keen to move,” says Aucklander Cassidy, who finished runner-up in both Japanese categories in 2018, with the championship titles not decided until the last lap of the final races.
“I’m very happy with my position with Lexus and Toyota. It was the obvious decision to stay and race here. The results made it pretty easy.”
He will continue his partnership with Ryo Hirakawa in a Lexus LC 500 in the eight round Super GT series.
Preparations are already under way for 2019 with Cassidy due to test the new chassis which will be used for Super Formula – the world’s second fastest single seater category after Formula One – later this week.
He will be moving to Toyota’s top team for the seven-round championship after two successful seasons with Kondo, which almost netted him the title.
Despite his disappointment in missing out on a championship to repeat his Super GT success of 2017, 24-year-old Cassidy, who is a triple New Zealand Grand Prix winner and double Toyota Racing Series champion, still considered 2018 a success.
“If you’d told me we were going to have a year like we did at the start of the year, I wouldn’t have believed you,” says Cassidy.
“Early on we didn’t expect to challenge for the Super GT title again. We were behind the top Nissan and Honda teams. It was great we still ended up the top Lexus team for a second year.”
His run to second in Super Formula by just 0.6 of a second was the culmination of a 100% team effort all the time, says Cassidy.
Following his Super Formula testing, Cassidy will be heading to Sepang in Malaysia just before Christmas for two days of Super GT testing. At both tests he will get a better idea of his opposition in the growing international stature of both series, which already boasts several former Formula One drivers in both fields.
Top DTM driver Lucas Auer is forsaking the German series to race in Japan and Honda is bringing home its two Formula 2 drivers, Tadasuke Makino and Nirei Fukuzumi to race domestically.
British teenager Dan Ticktum who finished runner-up in the European Formula 3 Championship is also headed for Japan.
Cassidy has been carrying out promotional work in Japan after the final round of Super GT, including the Toyota Festival at Fuji, which included laps of the track with all the other top cars and drivers from the various series which Toyota and Lexus contest worldwide.
“It was pretty cool being out there in the Super Formula car with the LMP1 world endurance sports car and the WRC Yaris, as well as Ryo in our Lexus LC 500.”