Katsumasa Chiyo will not drive in the 45th International Suzuka 1000km.
The 29-year-old driver of the #46 S Road Craftsports Nissan GT-R for MOLA International was injured three weeks ago in a 289 km/h crash at Fuji Speedway. He sustained a back injury after the brakes failed on his S Road GT-R, hitting the tyre barriers nearly head-on at the runoff of the first corner.
The injury was expected to take three to four weeks to heal, and unfortunately, Chiyo’s injury did not heal quickly enough for doctors to clear him to race this weekend.
In his place, Mitsunori Takaboshi, who was drafted into the MOLA team as a third driver, will now step up to become the sole co-driver to veteran Satoshi Motoyama, still in search of his first Suzuka 1000km victory.
From Chiyo’s blog:
“Sorry for everyone who are waiting to see me drive in the Suzuka 1000km.”
“I tried everything I could in the last 3 weeks to recover in time for Suzuka, but unfortunately my backbone isn’t completely recovered yet from a result of medical test yesterday.”
“I will continue to concentrate on treatment for getting well as fast as possible. I will be making the trip out to Suzuka Circuit so let’s cheer on the #46 and the Nissan teams together!”
After a historic 2015 season that saw him win the Bathurst 12 Hour, the GT300 class victories in the Fuji 500km and Suzuka 1000km, and become the first Japanese driver to win a major sports car racing championship outside of Asia, Chiyo stepped up to GT500 for 2016 alongside Motoyama in the S Road GT-R. He finished third on his GT500 debut at Okayama.
Chiyo is expected to be more than fully recovered by the time the series heads to Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand in October.