The #51 Lexus RC F GT3 of LM Corsa will have a new team director in 2017, as three-time Super GT premier class champion Masahiko Kageyama has been named to the position, per a press release from INGING Motorsport on Thursday.
INGING Motorsport operate the P.MU/Cerumo-INGING team that has won the last two Japanese Super Formula Championship titles, and in 2017, they will operate both the #51 JMS P.MU LM Corsa RC F GT3 of Yuichi Nakayama and Sho Tsuboi, as well as the #50 Ferrari 488 GT3 of INGING & Arnage Racing in the GT300 class of Super GT.
Kageyama was the inaugural champion of the All-Japan GT Championship (JGTC), winning three consecutive championships in what is now the GT500 class in 1993, 1994, and 1995 – the first for NISMO, the second and third for Calsonic Hoshino Racing (now known as Team Impul).
He was also the 1989 All-Japan Formula Three Drivers’ Champion, and won the 1993 All-Japan Touring Car Championship with Hoshino Racing and co-driver Kazuyoshi Hoshino. His brother, Masami Kageyama, is also a former GT500 champion, winning in 1998 with NISMO.
On the international stage, Kageyama finished third overall in the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans for Nissan Motorsport and their R390 GT1, before retiring from the JGTC and the top levels of motorsport at the end of the 2002 season.
Lately, Kageyama, now 53 years old, has been involved with Toyota Gazoo Racing’s efforts at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, where he was a two-time class winner in 2014 and 2015. He has also served as the team director at Toyota Team TOM’s Spirit in the Super Taikyu Endurance Series.
The #51 JMS P.MU RC F GT3 will be driven by Toyota Young Driver Program (TDP) graduate Yuichi Nakayama, and current TDP prospect Sho Tsuboi. It will also be one of four GT300 cars equipped with Bridgestone tyres. This is a big year for Lexus in GT300, with the 2017 model RC F GT3 expected to do big things on the international stage in Super GT and in IMSA.
Kageyama is one of a number of acclaimed former Super GT drivers that are now serving as team directors. In GT300 alone, he joins the likes of Masahiro Hasemi (NDDP Racing), Ukyo Katayama (Goodsmile Racing with Team UKYO), Tetsuji Tamanaka (Team Mach), Tetsuya Tanaka (Gainer), Hideki Noda (Team Taisan SARD), Keiichi Tsuchiya (Autobacs Racing Team Aguri), and Masayuki Ueda (Rn-sports).