The GT Association (GTA) has published the entry list for the second round of the 2020 Autobacs Super GT Series, which will take place behind closed doors at Fuji Speedway on 8-9 August.
The race will be the same 300-kilometre, 66-lap distance as the opening round held on 19 July, and will also carry the official title of “Takanoko Hotel Fuji GT 300km Race.” The early August calendar slot was usually occupied by the Fuji 500 Mile Race in 2018 and 2019, but even after the postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics made the date available for Super GT, GT Association (GTA) Chairman Masaaki Bandoh stated that there will be no long-distance endurance races in 2020.
All 45 cars registered to run the full season have entered. That includes arto Ping An Team Thailand, the Thai-based GT300 squad who were forced to miss the opening race of the season due to inbound travel restrictions currently in place by the Japanese government. The team are set to field their #35 Lexus RC F GT3 for their regular driver lineup of Nattapong Hortongkum and Sean Walkinshaw, who is likewise returning to Japan.
Also on the entry list are Audi Sport factory driver and two-time Nürburgring 24 Hours winner Christopher Mies, who is set to make his season debut with Audi Team Hitotsuyama alongside Shintaro Kawabata, and Hong Kong driver Alex Au, who likewise is set to return to X Works Racing alongside his countryman Shaun Thong.
That said, the entry list is still subject to change, with travel restrictions still in place. Nicki Thiim is still absent at D’station Racing, and Team JLOC will again be without André Couto and Dennis Lind.
There’s also been a change in the GT500 lineup at TGR Team SARD, where 21-year-old K-Tunes Racing driver Sena Sakaguchi will step up from GT300 to the premier category for the first time, driving the #39 Denso Kobelco SARD Toyota GR Supra alongside Yuichi Nakayama, who finished 5th last time out at Fuji.
2016 GT500 Champion Heikki Kovalainen is still unable to travel to Japan from his home in Finland due to the aforementioned travel restrictions. Reigning GT500 co-champion Kenta Yamashita, who made his surprise GT500 return in the season-opening 300km at Fuji, will also not be available as he’s preparing to return to his Toyota-sponsored FIA World Endurance Championship duties with High Class Racing at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
Sakaguchi finished 2nd in the 2019 GT300 Championship alongside Morio Nitta, after a historic season that saw the young driver win two of his first three races, including a win on debut at Okayama International Circuit, becoming the first driver to do so since 2003.
Sakaguchi’s place at K-Tunes Racing will now be occupied by 45-year-old veteran driver Shigekazu Wakisaka. The two-time Suzuka 1000km overall winner drove for Saitama Toyopet GreenBrave for the past three seasons, scoring two podium finishes in 2019.
Otherwise, the only other changes on the entry list are the first instances of Success Ballast on the top-ten finishers from the first race. Last week’s GT500-winning #37 KeePer TOM’s GR Supra of Ryo Hirakawa & Nick Cassidy will have an additional 42 kilogrammes of Success Ballast. And in GT300, the new, more aggressive Success Ballast system will be implemented for the first time. The race-winning #52 Saitama Toyopet GreenBrave GR Supra GT of Hiroki Yoshida & Kohta Kawaai comes in with 60kg of Success Ballast weight!
Image courtesy of the GT Association (GTA)