19-year-old Tadasuke Makino will drive the final three races of the 2016 Autobacs Super GT Series in the #15 Drago Modulo Honda NSX Concept-GT, Honda announced on Thursday.
He will replace Oliver Turvey, who has driven for the team since its inception in 2015 and will now focus on driving duties for NEXTEV Formula E Team in the FIA Formula E Championship.
Makino, a Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP) young driver, has been primarily competing in the All-Japan Formula Three Championship for TODA Racing.
Going into the final round of the championship next weekend at Sportsland Sugo, Makino is fifth in the Drivers’ Championship, with four podium finishes, a joint-best finish of second place, and a pole position at Twin Ring Motegi. He is second among Formula 3 rookies in the championship. Last year, he finished 2nd in last year’s inaugural FIA F4 Japanese Championship.
Makino made his Super GT debut just a few weeks ago, in the 45th International Suzuka 1000km, driving the #2 Syntium Apple Lotus Evora MC for Cars Tokai Dream28. Thanks to a superb first stint in the car, Makino had the Lotus in contention for GT300 class victory until a crash later on in the race ended their day.
He also holds the GT300 class lap record at Suzuka, set in qualifying for the race.
Makino will drive alongside Hideki Mutoh in the October 9 race at Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand, and the two-race finale at Honda’s secondary home circuit, Twin Ring Motegi. He will be the youngest driver to compete in the Super GT/JGTC’s top division since 18-year-old Hayanari Shimoda in 2002.
Turvey departs Super GT after 13 career starts from 2015-2016, and a best finish of 6th place in the 2015 Okayama GT 300km Race and Fuji GT 300km Race. In August, he helped the team secure its very first pole position at the Suzuka 1000km.
The 29-year-old from Penrith, England has been a long-time McLaren Honda test and reserve driver since 2012. Turvey also won the LMP2 category in the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans for Jota Sport, with Simon Dolan and Harry Tincknell.
We wish Oliver Turvey the absolute best of luck in the upcoming Formula E season, and in all of his future racing endeavours.
Honda press release (Japanese)