The Pirelli Super Taikyu Series heads to Twin Ring Motegi this weekend for the Motegi Super Taikyu 5 Hours Race, and a 52-car entry list was published by the series on Monday
Five ST-X (GT3) cars are entered, including current championship leaders Mercedes-AMG Team Hirix Racing, who have received a new Mercedes-AMG GT3 to use following the heavy crash at Okayama which saw driver Shinichi Takagi sidelined indefinitely. Daisuke Yamawaki and Shaun Thong will be joined by Yuki Nemoto, making his first appearance since Team Hirix Racing won the Fuji Super TEC 24 Hours.
They’ll join the two Nissan GT-R GT3s of GTNET Motor Sports (Noboyuki Oyagi/Kazuki Hoshino/Ryuichiro Oyagi/Kiyoto Fujinami) and MP Racing (Joe Shindo/Yusaku Shibata/Masami Kageyama/Keiichi Inoue), the Lexus RC F GT3 of apr Racing (Hideki Nagai/Koki Saga/Kazuto Kotaka/Yuta Kamimura), and the Aston Martin AMR Vantage GT3 of the most recent winners, D’station Racing (Satoshi Hoshino/Tomonobu Fujii/Tsubasa Kondo).
There’ll be ten cars in the ST-Z (GT4) class, with Audi Team AS Sport returning after taking a round off, and the BEND team making their first appearance of the season with their Porsche Cayman 981 GT4 Clubsport. BEND’s ever-present gentleman driver, Masamitsu Ishihara, will be the oldest driver in the field at 79 years young. They’ll be among the pack that hopes to chase down the championship-leading #3 Endless Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Yuudai Uchida, Hideki Yamauchi, and Tsubasa Takahashi, which goes into the weekend with a 60kg weight handicap based on past results.
The ST-1 class #28 Rookie Racing Toyota GR Supra GT4 is the only car in its class this time, so they’ll look to compare results with the other ST-Z runners.
ST-TCR also got a big boost, up to five entries. Racer Dome Racing are fielding their #97 Honda Civic TCR for the first time since the Fuji 24 Hours, and features Hiroki Otsu, Shinji Nakano, and Honda-backed F4 prospect Syun Koide as their drivers. And the one-off Audi Driving Experience Japan team is back, led by pro drivers Masataka Yanagida and Ryuichiro Tomita.
ST-2 also has another intriguing one-off entry, a Honda Civic Type R from the Honda R&D Challenge. Their lead drivers are Hideki Kakinuma, the current project leader of the Civic Type R for Honda, and Junichi Kidachi, chief engineer at Honda R&D’s Automobile R&D division. This gives the field two more top men from the civilian automobile industry to race alongside the likes of Akio “Morizo” Toyoda – who is expected to drive again in the championship-leading #32 Rookie Racing Toyota GR Yaris – and Mazda head of design Ikuo Maeda in the #120 Murakami Motors Mazda Roadster (ST-5 class).
ST-3 is up to five cars as local team HELM Motor Sports returns for its second race with the Lexus RC 350. Tracy Sports’ RC 350 currently leads the standings over Saitama Toyopet GreenBrave’s new Toyota Crown RS. Super GT title contender Sho Tsuboi (C.S.I Racing), Super Formula Lights championship leader Ritomo Miyata (Endless Sports), and FIA F4 Championship leader Hibiki Taira (Kobe Toyopet Motor Sports) will be among the top drivers competing in ST-4, alongside last round’s Group 2 race winners at Hayashi Telempu Shade Racing.
There are also six women racers in the field, Ai Miura (HELM Motor Sports, ST-3), Miki Onaga (Kobe Toyopet Motor Sports, ST-4), Hiroko Komatsu (Nihon Automobile College, ST-5), and the trio of Junko Fujii, Sayaka Kato, and Akie “Jco” Iinuma (Love Drive Racing #78, ST-5).
This time of course, there’ll be just a single five-hour endurance race instead of two three-hour races as was the case at Sugo and Okayama.
The Motegi Super Taikyu 5 Hours Race starts Sunday, 11 AM JST (2 AM GMT / 3 AM CET / Saturday 9 PM EST), with live Japanese-language coverage on Super Taikyu’s official YouTube channel.
Images courtesy of the Super Taikyu Organisation (STO)