Subaru announced their 2017 global motorsports programme at the Tokyo Auto Salon, which included the confirmation of their factory-run entry in the GT300 class of the Autobacs Super GT Series with R&D Sport.
For the third year in a row, the Subaru BRZ R&D Sport GT300 will be piloted by the young duo of Takuto Iguchi and Hideki Yamauchi, and will ride on Dunlop tyres as the team seeks to improve upon their 2016 results.
Subaru R&D Sport briefly led the GT300 championship on the strength of a win at the Suzuka 1000km, the fourth for Subaru and R&D Sport in the last seven years, and two more third-places at Sugo and the Fuji 300km. Five non-scoring finishes to bookend the season, however, meant that Iguchi and Yamauchi only finished sixth in the GT300 standings last year.
For 2017, Subaru and R&D Sport look to improve upon their inconsistent form from last year through continued improvements on the Subaru BRZ GT300 and its two-litre, turbocharged, four-cylinder Boxer engine. Their development focuses will be on improving engine cooling, weight balance, aerodynamic efficiency, and inertia.
Apart from the evolutionary changes in the car, the structure of the team remains identical from 2016, right down to their partnership with Dunlop Tyres, which continues for a third consecutive season.
Iguchi and Yamauchi, both 28 years old, are coming off their best season as a driver combination last season.
Iguchi is entering his ninth full season in Super GT, his eighth in GT300, and his fifth with R&D Sport as a factory Subaru driver. He has four career GT300 class victories, ten podium finishes, and 235 career GT300 class points in 64 career races. In 2011, he drove his only season in GT500 for Lexus Team SARD. Iguchi is a former class winner at the Nürburgring 24 Hours (2012), and a two-time class winner of the Suzuka 1000km (2013, 2016).
Yamauchi is entering his sixth full season, his third with R&D Sport, and has driven exclusively in GT300 since his debut in 2008. He broke through with his first GT300 win at Suzuka this past year, and has seven total podiums, one pole position, and 171 career points in 53 races. He was the inaugural All-Japan Formula Three National Class Champion, in 2008.
Yamauchi will also get a chance to defend Subaru’s SP3-T class victory at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, as he was confirmed as part of their 2017 entry into the race, joining Super GT alumni Carlo van Dam, Marcel Lasée, and Tim Schrick.
Shinji Motojima will be the team’s representative and director, with Akihiro Ito returning as the chief engineer of the #61 Subaru BRZ.