The attention of Super GT fans around the world was drawn Friday to the famous Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba, Japan, site of the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon.
It was here where Honda were the first to announce their full GT500 programme for the 2018 season, headlined by the arrival of Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button at Team Kunimitsu, and Takuya Izawa moving back to Autobacs Racing Team Aguri (ARTA).
Button, who won the World Drivers’ Championship in 2009, moves to Super GT full-time for the 2018 season after over seventeen years in Formula 1.
He’ll drive the #100 Raybrig NSX-GT, alongside 2013 Super Formula Champion Naoki Yamamoto, who piloted the car to 7th in the GT500 Championships in 2017 – the best of all the Honda teams and drivers.
Former Team Kunimitsu driver Takuya Izawa moves over to the #8 ARTA NSX-GT, the car in which he made his full-time Super GT debut in 2008-2009. Izawa joins Tomoki Nojiri, who drove the ARTA NSX to a landmark “double pole-to-win” for ARTA in the Fuji 300km last August.
The rest of the Honda fleet remains the same from 2017, including the third NSX to use Bridgestone tyres, the #17 Keihin NSX-GT of Real Racing, driven by Koudai Tsukakoshi, and 2010 GT500 Drivers’ Champion Takashi Kogure.
Reigning Suzuka 1000km champions Nakajima Racing retain their lineup for 2017, the #64 Epson NSX-GT driven by Bertrand Baguette and Kosuke Matsuura. They will once again be the sole GT500 team running Dunlop tyres, continuing a class-exclusive partnership dating back to 2011.
Team Mugen return for their second GT500 campaign, with drivers Hideki Mutoh and Daisuke Nakajima to pilot the #16 Motul Mugen NSX-GT, which will use Yokohama Advan tyres.
HONDA – GT500 TEAMS AND DRIVERS
#8 – AUTOBACS RACING TEAM AGURI – Bridgestone
Tomoki Nojiri / Takuya Izawa
#16 – TEAM MUGEN – Yokohama
Hideki Mutoh / Daisuke Nakajima
#17 – REAL RACING – Bridgestone
Koudai Tsukakoshi / Takashi Kogure
#64 – NAKAJIMA RACING – Dunlop
Bertrand Baguette / Kosuke Matsuura
#100 – TEAM KUNIMITSU – Bridgestone
Naoki Yamamoto / Jenson Button