Super GT will have a two-day test session at Suzuka Circuit from 8-9 July, in preparation for the 45th International Suzuka 1000km this August.
Friday, 8 July
Test Session 1: 10:00-12:00 JST
Test Session 2: 14:00-16:00 JST
Saturday, 9 July
Test Session 3: 09:00-11:00 JST
Test Session 4: 13:55-15:55 JST
For those wishing to follow along from all over the world, here is a table with the start times for each session, converted to several major time zones:
|Session 1||10:00||01:00||02:00||03:00||9:00 PM||6:00 PM||11:00|
|Session 2||14:00||05:00||06:00||07:00||1:00 AM||10:00 PM||15:00|
|Session 3||09:00||00:00||01:00||02:00||8:00 PM||5:00 PM||10:00|
|Session 4||13:55||04:55||05:55||06:55||12:55 AM||9:55 PM||14:55|
A total of 42 cars will take part, 15 GT500 cars and 27 GT300 entries.
A few notable third drivers are on the entry list.
Three prolific All-Japan Formula 3 drivers are entered, headlined by championship leader and Toyota Young Driver, Kenta Yamashita. Yamashita, who drove for Porsche Team KTR last season, is already confirmed for the Suzuka 1000km as the third driver for VivaC Team Samurai.
In the Syntium Lotus Evora, is 19-year-old Tadasuke Makino, a Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP) talent making his sports car debut. He races for TODA Racing in JF3, as does Keisuke Ishihara, another HFDP talent, testing the number 111 EVA-01 Mercedes-AMG.
Dominik Farnbacher returns to Syntium LM Corsa to drive their Lexus RC-F GT3. Farnbacher raced for Team Taisan from 2007-08, winning three races in only six starts with the team, and drove the Suzuka 100km for LM Corsa last year. He’s a former class winner at the 24 Hours of Daytona, a former Dodge SRT Viper factory ace, and today, races for his family’s team in the VLN Endurance Series for Lexus.
2001 GT500 champion Hironori Takeuchi, the founder of the SHIFT racing team that co-sponsors the number 108 Lamborghini Team Direction car, will drive for the team, alongside another Super GT newcomer, Jono Lester of New Zealand. Lester has enjoyed success in Super Taikyu in recent years, and also races in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo for Team Direction.
In Direction’s number 63 entry, Kei Cozzolino is shifted from the 108 car, and will split third driver duties with Super Taikyu driver, Hajime Noma, also making his test debut.
Fresh off his return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, ex-F1 star Shinji Nakano will drive for Team Taisan SARD alongside Shogo Mitsuyama and Yuya Motojima.
Reprising his role as third driver for Dijon Racing is Takayuki Aoki. The former GT300 champion played a huge role in helping the team secure their first points finish in three years at the Fuji 500km.
Yuya Sakamoto is listed as the second driver of the Excellence Porsche 911 GT3-R of Porsche Team KTR, in place of regular driver Jörg Bergmeister. Bergmeister will instead be racing at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Mosport) in the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship. Best of luck to Jörg in what will be a highly competitive field in the GT Daytona class!
JLOC will only bring one car to the test, the number 88 ManePa Lamborghini with Manabu Orido, Kazuki Hiramine, and third driver Taiyo Iida.
BMW Team Studie will only participate on the Saturday test, and without Augusto Farfus, who will race in the Suzuka 1000km for the team.
The testing list was set to be co-headlined by Super Formula driver William Buller’s debut. However, Buller has been removed from the entry list for reasons unknown as of yet. He was set to drive the EVA-01 AMG for Rn-sports.
Also removed from the entry list was Manabu Hayashi in the number 108 Direction Lamborghini. Hayashi’s younger brother Yusuke was arrested last month in connection to the TOWA Tech tax evasion case (Link in Japanese).
Feature Photo: Ryuji Hirano, AUTO sport Magazine