Kobayashi among absentees for Super Formula opener

Kamui Kobayashi will miss this weekend's opening round of the new Super Formula season at Fuji Speedway, with Kazuto Kotaka taking his place at the KCMG team.

Kobayashi among absentees for Super Formula opener

Toyota FIA World Endurance Championship star Kobayashi skipped both of this month's pre-season tests at Suzuka and Fuji due to travel restrictions, and had his place taken by Super Formula Lights regular Kotaka.

Now it has been confirmed that Kotaka will make his race debut for KCMG this weekend, joining 2016 champion Yuji Kunimoto at the team.

It follows Kobayashi's participation in the Sebring 12 Hours for Action Express Racing, which didn't leave him with enough time to complete a full 14-day quarantine before heading to Fuji.

Kobayashi is unlikely to return to the Super Formula grid any time soon unless Japan's quarantine rules are eased, with both he and TOM'S driver Kazuki Nakajima poised to miss the second round at Suzuka owing to pre-season test duties in the WEC for Toyota.

Kazuto Kotaka(KCMG)

Kazuto Kotaka(KCMG)

Photo by: Masahide Kamio

Elsewhere, both Sacha Fenestraz (Kondo Racing) and Tadasuke Makino (Dandelion Racing) are, as expected, absent from the Fuji entry list. As in pre-season testing, Yuichi Nakayama will replace Fenestraz, while Mugen outcast Ukyo Sasahara gets the nod to replace Makino.

In addition, B-Max Racing, which has one car entered for the full season for American rookie Yves Baltas, will not take part in the opening round at Fuji after missing both pre-season tests.

The absences of Fenestraz and Baltas leave Drago Corse's Tatiana Calderon as the sole non-Japanese driver on the grid at Fuji - an all-time low for the series' modern era.

Fuji entry list:

Engine

Team

Drivers

Toyota

Inging

Japan Sho Tsuboi

Japan Sena Sakaguchi

Rookie Racing

Japan Kazuya Oshima

KCMG

Japan Yuji Kunimoto

Japan Kazuto Kotaka

TOM’S

Japan Kazuki Nakajima

Japan Ritomo Miyata

Impul

Japan Yuhi Sekiguchi

Japan Ryo Hirakawa

Kondo Racing

Japan Kenta Yamashita

Japan Yuichi Nakayama

Honda

 

 

 

 

Dandelion Racing

Japan Nirei Fukuzumi

Japan Ukyo Sasahara

Team Mugen

Japan Tomoki Nojiri

Japan Hiroki Otsu

Nakajima Racing

Japan Naoki Yamamoto

Japan Toshiki Oyu

Drago Corse

Colombia Tatiana Calderon

Super Formula Lights attracts 13-car entry

The opening round of the new Super Formula Lights season will also take place at Fuji this weekend with 13 cars entered.

Japanese Formula 4 graduate Seita Nonaka replaces Kotaka at TOM'S, joining fellow rookies Giuliano Alesi and Hibiki Taira in the reigning champion team's three-car stable.

Ex-Honda junior Teppei Natori has been confirmed for a full season at B-Max Racing following his crowdfunding efforts. Joining Natori at B-Max for at least the first round of the season is W Series racer Miki Koyama, who tested for the team last week at Fuji.

Irish second-year driver Lucca Allen is listed on the entry for the Albirex Racing squad after missing both pre-season tests due to travel woes.

Toda Racing has switched to Spiess engines for its one-car attack with Honda junior Ren Sato, who was fastest in the Fuji test. It means only three engine makers are represented on this year's grid, with Spiess supplying seven cars, TOM'S four and Tomei just two.

Fuji entry list:

Engine

Team

Drivers

TOM'S

TOM'S

Japan Hibiki Taira

France Giuliano Alesi

Japan Seita Nonaka

RS Fine

Japan Shunsuke Kohno

Spiess

 

 

 

 

Toda Racing

Japan Ren Sato

B-Max Racing

B-Max Engineering

Japan Teppei Natori

Japan Miki Koyama

Japan Nobuhiro Imada*

Japan 'Dragon'*

Max Racing

Japan Atsushi Miyake

Japan Masayuki Ueda*

Tomei

Albirex Racing

Ireland Lucca Allen

Japan Seiya Jin

* Masters class entry

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