Two of the most tenured and revered drivers in Super GT will get another chance to show that they’ve still got plenty left in the tank. Takayuki Aoki and Masami Kageyama have been named to the entry list for the upcoming race at Sportsland SUGO.
Aoki and Kageyama will drive for Dijon Racing’s Nissan GT-R and Team Mach’s Toyota 86 MC, respectively, after driving for those same teams in the Fuji 500km way back on May 4.Kageyama, who turned 49 in May, was initially entered as a third driver in the #5 Mach 86 MC for Fuji, but now replaces team owner and lead driver Tetsuji Tamanaka going forward for at least the next round at Sugo.
Kageyama is now in his twenty-third season of Super GT, and he’s the only driver that’s competed in every full season of the series – since 1994. Kageyama won the 1998 GT500 championship at the wheel of the famous Pennzoil NISMO Skyline GT-R, and was runner-up in GT500 in 1997 for Toyota Team SARD, and in 2000 for NISMO.
Since 2005, Kageyama has competed in the GT300 class, where he has seven victories, six pole positions, and fifteen total podiums since stepping down from GT500. In the “Sanbyaku”, Kageyama’s best period of success came driving the Hankook Porsche 911 for Porsche Team KTR, from 2008 to 2013. In the Hankook Porsche, Kageyama was runner-up in the 2012 GT300 championship.
His older brother, Masahiko Kageyama, was the first champion of Super GT’s premier division, winning three straight championships from the formative 1993 season to 1995.
Aoki (pictured on the left) is a veteran of eighteen seasons, counting his 2016 debut for Dijon Racing, where he helped the team capture a tenth place finish at the Fuji 500km – their first points finish since the 2013 Okayama GT, and only their second points finish in team history.
Age 43, Aoki has been one of the GT300 class’s stalwarts since his 1998 debut. He won the 2001 GT300 Drivers’ Championship in the famous Team Daishin Nissan Silvia S15, and has also driven for the likes of NISMO Jr., Racing Project Bandoh, Gainer, MOLA, and Cusco Racing.
From 2011 to 2015, Aoki drove for JLOC. In 2014, he along with Manabu Orido captured the team’s second-ever Super GT victory in their 20+ year history in a wet race at Sugo. It is also Aoki’s most recent GT300 win – the twelfth of his career, with only Morio Nitta, Shinichi Takagi, and Nobuteru Taniguchi ahead of him in the all-time GT300 class wins list.
He partners Dijon Racing mainstay, Hiroshi Takamori.