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Tokyo Auto Salon 2020 Notebook

The stories from the floor of Makuhari Messe

Tokyo Auto Salon 2020 is the first big day of the Japanese sports car racing year, where select programmes are unveiled for the upcoming season.

We’ve covered in-depth the launches of Honda’s GT500 and GT300 programmes for 2020, and Nissan’s GT500 launch, and we’ve caught up with one of Nissan’s aces, Jann Mardenborough, to talk about the upcoming season as well.

But outside of those manufacturer launches, a select number of GT300 teams also unveiled their 2020 plans and colours at TAS as well!

The first 2020 Super GT car to break cover on the floor was Goodsmile Racing & Team UKYO’s new 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT3, now fully adorned in its 2020 Racing Miku livery.

This year’s rendition of the instantly-recognizable Hatsune Miku character was illustrated by artist LEN[A-7]. After GSR received their new AMG GT3 right on Christmas day, they soon began the process of applying the magenta, teal, red, and white livery to the redesigned 2020 Mercedes.

As confirmed in December, Nobuteru Taniguchi and Tatsuya Kataoka will drive the car in the upcoming Super GT season and Kamui Kobayashi will join them for the IGTC Suzuka 10 Hours.

Saitama Toyopet GreenBrave’s jaw-dropping Supra GT300 revealed to the public

For the last few weeks, Saitama Toyopet GreenBrave’s new JAF-GT Toyota GR Supra has been the darling of Super GT fans over the Christmas holiday as it broke cover in auto sport Magazine and a shakedown test in Fuji Speedway.

Now, the successor to the retired Mark X MC, equipped with Bridgestone Potenza tyres, and a 5.4 litre, naturally-aspirated 2UR-GSE V8 engine, has been revealed for all the world to see at Tokyo Auto Salon in its GreenBrave camouflage livery used at the Fuji shakedown.

It’s a remarkable feat of engineering for the crew at Saitama Toyopet GreenBrave, a team only entering their fourth full season. The car is entirely built in-house, with no input from Toyota apart from the factory’s blessing to use the Toyota badge and the likeness of the A90 GR Supra.

36-year-old Hiroki Yoshida remains with the team as their ace driver, and 25-year-old newcomer Kohta Kawaai, a graduate of the FIA F4 Japanese Championship who finished 3rd in last year’s championship, makes his Super GT debut in 2020 replacing Shigekazu Wakisaka.

Katoh joined by Yanagida at Cars Tokai Dream28-Lotus

2020 marks the beginning of a new chapter for Mother Chassis entrants Cars Tokai Dream28.

Following the retirement of long-time gentleman racer Kazuho Takahashi from active GT300 driving, the team will go with an experienced all-pro lineup for this season. Hiroki Katoh, the stalwart pro driver, will be joined by two-time GT500 and GT300 Champion, Masataka Yanagida.

It is Yanagida’s first full-time Super GT campaign in three years, since 2017 with Audi Team Hitotsuyama. Aside from a spot start in the 2018 Fuji 500 Miles, Yanagida has primarily competed in Korea’s CJ SuperRace Championship the last two seasons, and in fact, was introduced via video message as Yanagida is currently competing in the 24 Hours of Dubai.

Takahashi, meanwhile, has been named Team Director, ensuring that he’ll still remain an integral on-track presence within the team.

No change at Subaru R&D Sport

Subaru and R&D Sport will remain much the same as they have over the previous five seasons. They will once again field the Subaru BRZ R&D Sport GT300 car, riding on Dunlop tyres, for the duo of Takuto Iguchi and Hideki Yamauchi.

The 2020 BRZ received refinements including improved reliability and thermal efficiency in Subaru’s signature EJ20 Boxer engine, an optimized balance between chassis design and aerodynamics, as well as improved road-holding performance. With these refinements, Subaru aims to win the class championship for the first time.

R&D Sport and their drivers Iguchi and Yamauchi managed just a single podium finish at Suzuka, opposite three mechanical DNFs.

Up to 30 entrants are rumoured to take part in the GT300 class this year, including these teams, the three Honda Customer Racing squads, and Tsuchiya Engineering with their new Porsche 911 GT3-R, and those programmes will be unveiled in the coming weeks and months.