Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

USA USA

WEC drive gives Hirakawa "no excuses" in Super Formula

Ryo Hirakawa says there are “no excuses” for him in Super Formula this year despite also joining Toyota’s FIA World Endurance Championship line-up for 2022.

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Ryo Hirakawa

Hirakawa is stepping up to the WEC this year in place of compatriot Kazuki Nakajima, joining Sebastien Buemi and Brendon Hartley in Toyota’s #8 line-up, and will make his race debut in this weekend's Sebring 1000 Miles.

He will combine his new WEC drive with another season in Super Formula with Team Impul, with which he finished a close runner-up to Naoki Yamamoto in the 2020 standings.

Read Also:

Hirakawa was forced to miss a Super Formula race last year to participate in his first test with the Toyota WEC squad, with his performance opening the door for him to ultimately replace Nakajima this year.

The 28-year-old is no longer facing any issues with participating in all seven Super Formula race weekends this year following Japan’s decision to scrap mandatory quarantine for fully-vaccinated arrivals from most destinations starting this month.

The 2020 series runner-up told Motorsport.com he doesn’t feel that his WEC efforts will detract from his bid to win a first Super Formula crown.

“I don’t think it’s a big issue,” Hirakawa said when asked about combining the two series at this month's Suzuka pre-season test.

“[On the first day of testing] it was ok, especially after many laps. Even my first lap with new tyres was not a problem.

“[In terms of preparation for Super Formula] I will try to at least keep it at the same level, or do even more. It should be ok. There are no excuses on that side.”

 

Following the conclusion of the 2021 season last October, Hirakawa had driven the GR010 Hybrid during private tests Bahrain, Aragon and Paul Ricard before finally returning to his Impul Super Formula cockpit for the Suzuka Fan Thanks Day event that preceded the pre-season test.

He admitted that coming back to Super Formula after four months away from the series was "strange", given how much he had become accustomed to the heavier Toyota LMH machine.

He added: “I had done many laps, maybe 200 or 300 laps [in the GR010]. It was nice coming back to Super Formula because it’s a much lighter car and has more downforce. 

“Driving for the first time [during Fan Thanks Day] at Suzuka, I was surprised by how quick the car is! I enjoyed it a lot.”

Hirakawa had a low-key first day of the Suzuka test on Monday, only managing the 16th-best time overall and suffering an off at the final chicane in the closing stages of the afternoon session.

 

He improved to sixth on Tuesday, albeit still lagging some way behind fellow Toyota driver Sho Tsuboi, who swept both days of the test.

“We sorted the issue we had on Monday, but not fully, so I still hesitated to push 100 percent,” Hirakawa said. “I also had traffic on my final attack lap, so considering that, the laptime wasn't so bad in the end, although not all drivers used new tyres. 

“We need to keep analysing the issue. It could be related to the new-specification rear tyre [brought by Yokohama], but it could also be something else on my car.”

Read Also:

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Mugen finding way to keep two-car team "important" for Nojiri
Next article Fukuzumi feels "different type of pressure" at Drago Corse

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

USA USA