Team Red Bull Mugen has announced that they will change tyre suppliers to Sumitomo Rubber Corporation and their Dunlop brand for the 2021 Autobacs Super GT Series.
The announcement has been several weeks in the waiting and has now been made official by Mugen’s parent company M-TEC on Friday afternoon in Japan – with their #16 Red Bull Motul Mugen Honda NSX-GT, driven by Ukyo Sasahara and GT500 rookie Toshiki Oyu, changing from Yokohama to Dunlop rubber this season.
This will be the first time that Dunlop has supplied Mugen/M-TEC as a team since 2004-2005, during a brief yet prolific stint in GT300 that saw Tetsuya Yamano and Hiroyuki Yagi win the 2004 GT300 titles in a Dunlop-clad Honda NSX, followed by a runner-up finish in the 2005 championship for Shinya Hosokawa and Haruki Kurosawa.
It will also be the first time since 2010 that Dunlop will have an additional GT500 client apart from Modulo Nakajima Racing, who have been Dunlop’s sole representative in Super GT’s premier category since 2011. Last season, Nakajima Racing and drivers Takuya Izawa & Hiroki Otsu carried Dunlop to two pole positions at Suzuka (August) and Motegi (November), with a season-best second-place finish at the November Motegi race.
The addition of the Mugen team, with the young lineup of second-year driver Sasahara and class newcomer Oyu, gives Dunlop a second team to work within the tyre wars against dominant GT500 supplier Bridgestone, Michelin, and Yokohama.
The first public appearance for the #16 Red Bull Mugen NSX-GT on Dunlop tyres will come on Saturday with the first day of official Super GT pre-season testing at Okayama International Circuit. As part of the announcement, Red Bull unveiled a carbon fibre special testing livery that will run for at least the Okayama test, on 6-7 March.