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

Merhi ready to fight for podiums in second SUPER GT season

Ex-Formula 1 racer Roberto Merhi is hoping to fight for podiums in his second season in SUPER GT with the Team LeMans Audi squad.

#6 DOBOT Audi R8 LMS

Merhi joined Team LeMans after last year’s opening race, replacing Satoshi Motoyama as Yoshiaki Katayama’s team-mate aboard the #6 Audi R8 LMS GT3.

The Spaniard scored a best finish of fifth at Suzuka, matching the team’s best finish at Okayama immediately before his arrival, but the sole Audi left in the GT300 field struggled for consistency elsewhere.

Merhi and Katayama remain partnered up for the 2023 season, and will once again campaign the Evo II-spec R8 following a failed bid by Team LeMans over the winter to sell the car and obtain a BMW M4 GT3 instead.

Read Also:

After recording the fourth-fastest time across two days of official testing at Okayama last month, and then finishing a rain-hit Fuji test an impressive second-fastest, Merhi is confident that Team LeMans is ready to fight at the head of the field consistently.

“We have improved a little bit because last year often we were P18, P20 in free practice and it was a big mess,” he told Motorsport.com. “But now we have changed the car quite a lot and we are much happier with the balance. 

“We have found a better way and me and Yoshi [Katayama] are now much happier with it. Also Yoshi made a good step forward this year, so it looks promising.

“We need to see how it goes when everyone is pushing [in the opening round], because I think some teams are still hiding a lot, but we should be comfortably able to get to Q2, and qualify in the top 10.”

 

Asked if he felt a win could be on the cards, Merhi said: “Maybe that’s too much to hope for, but I think we can be on the podium when things go well. 

“The target is to be in the top five in the championship. A win would be amazing, but we need to see.”

Team LeMans’ prospects have been boosted by the arrival of Mattia Oselladore, who took Felipe Drugovich to last year's Formula 2 title and formerly worked with Merhi at Prema, as chief engineer for the Yokohama-shod Audi.

Although Oselladore did not attend either of the official pre-season tests, Merhi believes the Italian’s influence has made a significant impact on the team, even while working remotely.

“We changed the philosophy of the team a lot compared to how they worked before, which is why I think we have been competitive,” he said. “Now with Mattia setting the guidelines, we are following them and it’s working pretty well.”

Read Also:

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article SUPER GT delays carbon-neutral fuel for GT300 class
Next article Nissan "not confident" Z has retained any 2022 advantage

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

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