In the midst of a very, very, very busy week of Super GT pre-season testing at three different venues – primarily Twin Ring Motegi and Okayama International Circuit – it was Fuji Speedway that was the site of the unveiling of the stunning new livery for the Toyota Mark X MC of Super GT newcomers Saitama Toyopet GreenBrave.
The team also revealed their full participation plans for the 2017 racing season, with regular drivers Takayuki Hiranuma and Taku Bamba to be joined by veteran third driver Shigekazu Wakisaka in the 2017 GT300 class.
GreenBrave first unveiled the Mark X MC at the 2017 Tokyo Auto Salon, now it’s been seen for the first time in its striking metallic racing green livery with gold and white accents.
Hiranuma and Bamba also had the chance to get their first track time in the Mark X MC – the first ever laps in a GT300 car for 43-year-old series rookie Hiranuma, who by day is the Senior Managing Director of the Saitama Toyopet auto dealership network, and has stated that his team’s breakthrough into Super GT fulfills a long-term goal for the team since it was established in 2013.
Joining Hiranuma, and 2011 GT300 Champion Bamba, is 41-year-old veteran driver Shigekazu Wakisaka (far right), younger brother of Juichi Wakisaka, the three-time GT500 champion.
Wakisaka has competed in 63 races over 11 seasons in both GT300 and GT500 classes. He has a single career GT300 victory for Racing Project Bandoh at Sportsland Sugo, and he is a two-time winner of the Suzuka 1000km in 2001 and 2002, the latter driving with his older brother at Toyota Team LeMans.
Saitama Toyopet GreenBrave also announced their intention to compete in the Super Taikyu Endurance Series again in 2017. Hiranuma and Wakisaka will join the legendary Naoki Hattori in the #68 Toyota Mark X in the ST-3 class. GreenBrave were ST-4 class champions in 2015.
They’ll also compete in the Toyota 86/BRZ Race series, with Hiranuma and Shogo Mitsuyama driving for the team.
Photo Credit: Ryuji Hirano / AUTOSPORTweb