The GT Association, sanctioning body and promoter of the Autobacs Super GT Series, have officially published the entry list for the upcoming Fuji GT 500km Race at Fuji Speedway on May 3rd-4th.
Here are the list of changes in the entry list for the 2017 Golden Week classic.
Daisuke Ito will come off the pit box and return to the wheel of the #36 au TOM’s Lexus LC500 alongside James Rossiter, due to Kazuki Nakajima’s commitments in the World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, to be held just two days after the Fuji 500km.
Curiously enough, Rossiter is on the entry list for both the Fuji 500km, and the 6 Hours of Spa with ByKolles Racing. He will attempt to run both races, pending clearance from the WEC.
Reigning All-Japan F3 champion Kenta Yamashita makes his GT500 debut in the #19 WedsSport Advan LC500, joining Yuhi Sekiguchi and replacing Yuji Kunimoto, as Kunimoto makes his WEC debut at Spa-Francorchamps with Toyota Gazoo Racing.
With Yamashita moving to GT500 for this round, reigning Porsche Carrera Cup Japan champion Tsubasa Kondo will drive for VivaC Team Tsuchiya in the #25 VivaC Toyota 86 MC, alongside Takamitsu Matsui.
Another former PCCJ champion will return to the Super GT cockpit at Fuji, as 2011 undefeated champion Hideto Yasuoka will drive in place of the suspended Hisashi Wada in the #22 R’Qs Motor Sports Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.
Three weeks ago, Yasuoka was, by his own admission, unsure if he’d be racing at all this season. Now he has a chance to revive the fortunes of one of GT300’s most recently forlorn teams.
Another former PCCJ champion, 2015 title winner Yuya Motojima, returns to Super GT as one of two third drivers drafted in by Team JLOC. Motojima, who raced for Team Taisan SARD in 2016, will join Shinya Hosokawa and Kimiya Sato in the #87 Shop Channel Lamborghini Huracán GT3.
In the #88 ManePa Lamborghini Huracán GT3, 22-year-old Tsubasa Takahashi makes his Super GT debut at the Fuji 500km, the former HFDP (Honda Formula Dream Project) prospect driving with Manabu Orido and Kazuki Hiramine.
This race will also mark the debut of gentleman driver Takayuki Hiranuma in the #52 Saitama Toyopet GreenBrave Toyota Mark X MC. Hiranuma’s debut was delayed after a failed rookie test in the pre-season, but now that he has met the requirements for a racing license, he will get his GT300 debut with his veteran co-drivers Taku Bamba and Shigekazu Wakisaka.
Other third drivers being drafted in for the Fuji 500km are Junichiro Yamashita (Team Mach), Taiyo Iida (Dijon Racing), Masayuki Ueda (Rn-sports), and Atsushi Tanaka (Tomei Sports).
Finally, after their violent crash at Okayama, the #50 Ferrari 488 GT3 of INGING & Arnage Racing has made it onto the entry list with drivers Akihiro Tsuzuki and Morio Nitta, Nitta intent to return with a flourish after his worrisome accident in the 2017 season opener.