The track cars stretch their legs ahead of the 2022 season opener.
While Japanese manufacturers like Mitsubishi, Subaru, and Mazda have drastically downscaled their motorsport programs, Nissan, Toyota, and Honda (to a lesser degree) remain dedicated. This year's Super GT shows us that the trio is still intent on keeping the octane pumping on the track as we see the all-new Nissan Z, Toyota GR Supra, and Honda NSX complete their testing procedures at Suzuka.
The 2022 season will see these three cars, built specifically for the GT500 class, compete across eight races from April until November. 15 teams have been confirmed for the championship which has been running since 1983. The Supra and NSX are not exactly newcomers to the competition but the highly anticipated Z returns as it replaces the accomplished GT-R.
Toyota Gazoo Racing had announced its lineup for the competition late last year with its reigning champion Yuhi Sekiguchi taking to the wheel of Team SARD. He replaces Heikki Kovalainen who was set to continue his tenure with the brand but withdrew his entry just before the official announcement. Giuliano Alesi, son of Formula 1 star Jean Alesi, will be stepping up from the GT300 class into GR's TOM's team.
These drivers will pilot the GT500 GR Supra which made its debut last year after replacing the Lexus LC. This car kicked its career off with a bang after the TOM's team claimed the win for the season despite it only achieving a win in the last race.
All eyes are on the Nissan Z though. Accomplished WEC racer Bertrand Baguette will be joined by Kazuki Hiramine under the Calsonic banner while Katsuma Chiyo and Mitsunori Takaboshi will be flying the official Nismo flag. The brand will be investing resources to ensure this model sees the same success as its Z32 300ZX and Z33 Super GT racecars.
Team Honda returns with its NSX despite the road-going model entering its final year of production. With its 2014 introduction date, this mid-engine racer is now the old-timer of the group but that won't stop the likes of Nirei Fukuzumi, Tomoki Nojiri, and Naoki Yamamoto from giving it their all behind the wheel. The 2022 season will commence on April 16 at the Okayama International Circuit, a former host of F1 racing.