On Tuesday, Honda announced that the Drago Modulo Honda Racing and Drago Corse racing teams will end their racing activities, in the Autobacs Super GT Series and Japanese Super Formula Championship respectively, after the 2016 season.
The news comes just two weeks after the conclusion of the 2016 Super Formula season, and on the week of the Super GT Motegi GT Grand Final, held at Honda’s home facility, Twin Ring Motegi.
Drago Corse team founder and director, Ryo Michigami, wished to thank the team’s fans who have supported them, as well as encouraging them to give them their support as the team prepares for its final race weekend.
Michigami, who won the 2000 GT500 Drivers’ Championship for Mugen Honda, established Drago Corse in late 2014, shortly after retiring from full-time racing after the 2013 Super GT season. The Drago team made their debut in the penultimate round of the 2014 Super Formula Championship with Takuya Izawa as their driver. They continued on in 2015-16 with Takashi Kogure, scoring a best finish of fourth in the opening round of the 2016 season at Suzuka Circuit.
In Super GT, Drago Modulo Honda Racing and their #15 Drago Modulo Honda NSX Concept-GT debuted in 2015, assuming the place as Honda’s “flagship” team after the withdrawal of Dome Racing at the end of the 2014 season.
The team made a splash with the signing of McLaren Formula 1 test driver, Oliver Turvey, to partner the former GT500 champion Kogure. In 2015, the Drago NSX of Kogure and Turvey finished 12th in the championship, with seven top-ten finishes and a best finish of 6th at Okayama and the Fuji 300km races.
In 2016, the team “traded” Kogure to Keihin Real Racing in exchange for Hideki Mutoh, who secured the team’s first pole position with a record qualifying lap at the 45th International Suzuka 1000km.
For the next race, Drago Modulo Honda Racing promoted top Honda young driving prospect Tadasuke Makino to replace Turvey for the remainder of 2016, and Makino along with Mutoh scored the team’s very first podium finish with a second place finish at the Buriram Super GT Race in Thailand.
Mutoh is currently 12th in this year’s GT500 Drivers’ Championship, still mathematically eligible for the championship at Motegi, trailing by 36 points.
Michigami stated his intention to resume his young driver training programme using the Drago name from 2017 onward, with the support of Honda.
For the 2017 Super GT season however, there likely won’t be any news until February as to who will replace Drago Modulo Honda Racing’s entry in the Honda GT500 fleet, if a replacement team is established at all.
At any rate, we at Super GT World would like to wish Michigami, chief engineer Hitoshi Iyoki, Mutoh, Makino, and the rest of the Drago Modulo Honda Racing team the best of fortune in their racing futures.