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Both Tsuchiya Supras to skip Suzuka after Fuji fires

Both of the Tsuchiya Engineering-run Toyota GR Supra GT300 cars that suffered fires in this month's Fuji SUPER GT round will be absent from the upcoming Suzuka round.

#25 HOPPY Schatz GR Supra GT

Photo by: Masahide Kamio

An entry list for the fifth round of the season released on Monday features the regular cast of 15 GT500 cars and 25 GT300s, with both the #25 Hoppy Team Tsuchiya and #244 Max Racing entries missing.

It follows both cars being hit by fires at Fuji, the latter of which proved particularly devastating as it forced the team to write off its hand-built chassis.

Team owner Takeshi Tsuchiya told Motorsport.com's Japanese edition in the wake of the inferno that the #25 Supra was not salvageable, and later confirmed on social media that the team would sit out the rest of the season, ruling out the use of an alternative car.

However, it has now transpired that the #244 machine will also not be repaired in time to race at Suzuka, despite its fire being brought under control by course-side marshals much more quickly.

It reduces the car count for the 450km event on August 27 to 40 cars in total.

Elsewhere on the GT300 entry list, Mercedes squad LEON Racing has entered team principal Haruki Kurosawa as a third driver alongside regular pairing Naoya Gamou and Takuro Shinohara.

It follows Gamou having to withdraw from the Fuji race after suffering a fever on the eve of the race, leaving Shinohara to complete two-thirds distance at the wheel of the #65 Mercedes-AMG GT3 before retiring.

 

If Kurosawa drives, it will mark his first outing since the 2019 Fuji race, the last before his retirement as a driver.

Bruno Spengler meanwhile returns to the line-up at BMW Team Studie, and is expected to keep his place alongside points leader Seiji Ara for the remainder of the season.

The GT500 entry list features no changes from Fuji, with the exception that Iori Kimura is no longer a registered third driver in the #8 ARTA Honda NSX-GT.

Kimura was placed on standby at Fuji in case Toshiki Oyu was unable to compete due to the collarbone injury he sustained last month, but in the event Oyu was fit enough to complete more than half of the 100-lap distance.

Motorsport.tv is showing all qualifying sessions and races for the 2023 SUPER GT season. For more information, click here.

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