The announcement of the 2017 Autobacs Super GT Series entry list revealed a new alliance in the GT300 class, as INGING Motorsport and Arnage Racing will enter under a united banner for the upcoming season.
INGING will take with them from LM Corsa the driver lineup of three-time GT300 champion Morio Nitta and Akihiro Tsuzuki, and pending official confirmation, the turbocharged Ferrari 488 GT3 that enjoyed a respectable first season in Super GT in 2016.
The INGING-run #51 LM Corsa Ferrari of Tsuzuki and Nitta started the season well with a fifth-place finish at Okayama and a sixth at the Fuji 500km, but they didn’t score any points in the final five races of the season, dropping them to 17th in the Drivers’ Championship and 15th in the Teams’ Championship.
Arnage Racing have been on the Super GT grid since 2013, as one of the true independents of the GT300 class. Last season, they were 22nd in the Teams’ Championship with an aging Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, with drivers Hideto Yasuoka and Rintaro Kubo failing to score a championship point.
Arnage sold their old SLS AMG in the off-season for just under $150,000 USD, making room in their shop for a newer, turbo V8-powered Ferrari. Kubo has already been confirmed to drive the #31 Toyota Prius GT for apr Racing, while Yasuoka’s 2017 plans aren’t certain as of yet.
Tsuzuki, 39, is the team’s “gentleman driver” – on weekdays, he’s the Managing Director of ZENT Corporation, but on weekends, he’s an experienced racing driver entering his eighth Super GT season, with 47 starts, 83 championship points, and a podium finish at the Fuji Golden Week race in 2011 to his name.
Tsuzuki is also a former champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup Japan, winning the title in 2008. He’s one of a number of former PCCJ champions racing in Super GT, along with Ryo Hirakawa, Shinichi Takagi, Yuya Motojima, and Hideto Yasuoka.
Nitta, who just turned 50 in January, is the “Iron Man of GT300”, entering his 22nd consecutive full-time campaign in JGTC/Super GT. With 161 starts, he is the most experienced driver in all of Super GT history, and he is the all-time GT300 record holder for wins, podiums, top-tens, and career points, as well as a record-tying three-time series champion.
This is Nitta’s third season with INGING Motorsport, having been with the company when they were aligned with LM Corsa in 2015 and 2016.
Confirmation of the team’s programme, car, and title sponsor will be announced at a later date.