In the midst of his first season racing in Europe as part of the NISMO Global Driver Exchange, Mitsunori Takaboshi will make an unexpected return to Super GT on August 6-7 at the upcoming Fuji GT 300km Race at Fuji Speedway.
Takaboshi will team up with former GT300 champion Takayuki Aoki to drive the #48 Dijon Racing Nissan GT-R in the GT300 class.
At 23 years old, Takaboshi is already making waves within the NISMO global driver programme.
He made his Super GT debut last season, in the GT300 class with the B-Max Nissan Driver Development Programme (NDDP) team. Paired with Kazuki Hoshino, Takaboshi won two races in his debut season (Thailand, Autopolis), picked up an additional podium finish at the Fuji 500km, and finished fourth in the GT300 Drivers’ Championship.
That was enough for Nissan to give him an opportunity to race on a global stage in 2016 – as Takaboshi was assigned to NISMO GT Academy Team RJN, Nissan’s works team in the Blancpain GT Series, and paired with GT Academy champion graduates Alex Buncombe, and fellow Super GT alumni Lucas Ordoñez for the Endurance Cup events.
It’s been a mixed first season for Takaboshi in Blancpain GT, effectively replacing Katsumasa Chiyo – he enters this weekend’s Spa 24 Hours with two top-five finishes in the Endurance Cup events at Monza, Italy and Le Castellet, France. But Takaboshi and Buncombe have not scored a point in the Sprint Cup all season, as the Nissan GT-R has yet to hit its stride on the high-downforce circuits.
Takaboshi has also had success in single-seaters, finishing third in the All-Japan Formula Three Championship in 2014 and 2015, and winning the National Class title in 2013.
But one week after he makes his Spa 24h debut, Takaboshi will make a surprising return to Super GT – and with his youth and raw pace paired with the still-capable former champion Aoki aboard the Dijon GT-R affectionately dubbed “Pink-zilla”, there’s real potential for the independent Dijon Racing team to impress at Fuji this August. In May, the team scored just their second-ever points finish in five years at the Fuji 500km.
Worth noting that this is the first time that Dijon Racing will enter a Super GT event without Hiroshi Takamori at the wheel, as the bespectacled 46-year-old amateur driver will stand down to let Takaboshi drive in his return race.