Perennial fan-favourite Super GT team Goodsmile Racing & Team UKYO announced their 2020 participation plans at a year-end party held in Tokyo this Saturday.
The three-time GT300 championship-winning squad will once again compete full-time in the Autobacs Super GT Series, and take part in the Intercontinental GT Challenge’s Suzuka 10 Hours.
The structure of the team remains unchanged, led by owner Takanori Aki, team principal Ukyo Katayama, and chief engineer Takao Kohno. And three-time GT300 Drivers’ Champions Nobuteru Taniguchi and Tatsuya Kataoka will continue to drive full-time for Goodsmile Racing in 2020, their ninth season as teammates. The team also announced that Daytona 24 Hours champion Kamui Kobayashi will return as the third driver for their Suzuka 10 Hours effort.
But one new piece is added to the equation for Goodsmile Racing in 2020: The new 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT3, which made its race debut this past August at the Creventic 24 Hours of Portimaõ in anticipation for the car’s homologation and full-scale launch this coming year.
GSR will hope to start the new Mercedes-AMG GT3’s run in Super GT just as the original model did, where the first-gen Mercedes scored a 1-2 finish on its debut at Okayama International Circuit in 2016.
“This year, we will enter Super GT with a fresh feeling and a goal to win the championship – so as not to break the ‘three-year jinx’ in a bad sense,” said team owner Aki at the event. Aki-san is referring to the pattern wherein Goodsmile Racing have taken the GT300 title every three years: First in 2011 (in a partnership with BMW Team Studie), then in 2014, and again in 2017.
Teammates Taniguchi and Kataoka have combined to win two of their three GT300 Championships together at GSR in 2014 and 2017. During their eight seasons as teammates, they’ve combined for six race wins, 20 podiums, and 49 top-ten finishes in 64 races. Both drivers are ranked in the top ten for career GT300 class race victories, with Taniguchi third all-time at 17 career wins, behind only Morio Nitta (22) and Shinichi Takagi (21).
Goodsmile Racing will reveal their 2020 livery, centred around the 2020 Racing Miku character design by artist “LEN[A-7]”, at the Tokyo Auto Salon on 10/12 January.