Three-time GT300 Champion squad Tsuchiya Engineering will field a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the upcoming 2020 Autobacs Super GT Series, signalling a new era for the team after switching from their venerable, championship-winning Toyota 86 Mother Chassis.
The news was announced on social media by team director Takeshi Tsuchiya, via his Facebook page on Thursday.
Tsuchiya himself was on the record stating his reluctance to switch to an FIA GT3 platform vehicle for the upcoming season but expressed frustration with talks of a second-generation Mother Chassis stagnating, the series finding an effective balance of performance for the MC platform as a whole, and lack of manufacturer support.
At the encouragement of title sponsor Hoppy Beverage Company, though, Tsuchiya made the move and a surprising one at that on the surface, going with Porsche over Lexus and their RC F GT3.
“Personally, I am a fan of Porsche myself,” said Tsuchiya, “but what I appreciate the most is that Porsche has a long history of supporting privateer racing teams.”
“Another reason for this partnership with Porsche is that we want our young mechanics to have the experience to work with this historic brand,” Tsuchiya added.
The last year with the 86 MC for Tsuchiya Engineering was a trying one. The car in the hands of Takamitsu Matsui and Kimiya Sato was still quick and capable, with Matsui taking a series-high three pole positions and two more front-row starts.
But they managed only two points-paying finishes, a 5th at Suzuka, and a 4th at Buriram, in a year where they were left to scramble to rebuild their car after a heavy crash in monsoon conditions at Okayama International Circuit.
And their short and long-term future was threatened due to financial constraints before Hoppy stepped up and provided additional sponsorship funding to secure them through the 2019 season.
Under this new partnership, Porsche are expected to deliver Tsuchiya Engineering a brand-new 991.2 GT3-R with more manufacturer support than they’ve had since their run as a Toyota GT500 team, while in return, Tsuchiya Engineering, GT300 champions in 1998, 1999, and 2016, will look to give Porsche their first Super GT race win and championship since 2012.
Drivers for the 2020 season have yet to be announced.