On Friday, the GT Association (GTA), promoter of the Autobacs Super GT Series, released the entry list for the third round of the 2018 season, the Suzuka GT 300km Fan Festival, held at the legendary Suzuka Circuit.
The first 300km sprint at Suzuka will feature all 44 cars and 88 drivers entered in total, with Kazuki Nakajima and Kamui Kobayashi both returning to Super GT action on May 19-20.
By way of their win at the Fuji GT 500km Race, the #23 Motul Autech NISMO GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/Ronnie Quintarelli) will have 52 kilograms of success ballast. It will be the only car in the GT500 field to carry a Stage 1 fuel flow restrictor, cutting their maximum fuel intake from the standard 95 kilograms per hour, to 91.8 kg/h. They’ll also carry an additional 35 kilograms of weight.
Second in the championship is the #17 Keihin Honda NSX-GT (Koudai Tsukakoshi/Takashi Kogure), which carries the most physical ballast at 42 kilograms, but also has no fuel flow restrictions.
Coming off of their role in a Toyota 1-2 finish at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, Kazuki Nakajima and Kamui Kobayashi each return to the #36 au TOM’s Lexus LC500, and the #39 Denso Kobelco SARD LC500, respectively. Both cars scored top-5 finishes at the Fuji GT 500km Race.
James Rossiter will be driving the #6 Wako’s 4CR LC500, in place of Felix Rosenqvist, who will be honouring his prior commitments in the FIA Formula E Championship at Berlin, Germany. Rossiter helped drive the au TOM’s LC500 to a season-best fourth-place finish at Fuji last weekend.
Sho Tsuboi returns to his regular 2018 seat in the #25 Hoppy 86 MC for Suzuka, following his incredible GT500 debut in place of Kamui Kobayashi in the #39 Denso Kobelco SARD LC500. Tsuchiya Engineering failed to score any points at Fuji, so Tsuboi is still able to win the GT300 title this season with Takamitsu Matsui.
Atsushi Tanaka and Takayuki Aoki will drive the #360 RunUp Rivaux GT-R as Yusaku Shibata continues to recover from his back injuries sustained at Okayama. Shibata will likely be back for the Fuji GT 500km Race. Richard Bradley returns for a second drive with Dijon Racing, sharing the #48 Shokumou.jp GT-R with Masaki Tanaka.
The #55 ARTA BMW M6 GT3 (Shinichi Takagi/Sean Walkinshaw) will carry 52 kilograms of success ballast at Suzuka. It’s said that the performance of a GT3 car doesn’t degrade until 70 kilos of ballast or more are added, so by and large, we can still expect the top teams in the GT300 championship to shine through.