2017 Japanese Super Formula Championship season preview

  • 2017 Japanese Super Formula Championship season preview
  • Some of Toyota drivers for the 2017 Super Formula season
  • 2017 Super Formula Honda drivers

The 2017 Japanese Super Formula Championship, in the fifth year under the current name and for the 31st time as the premier open-wheel competition in Japan, will kick off on April 23 with a season-opening race at Suzuka Circuit.

The 2017 season features seven events at six venues, as Suzuka will also host the season’s finale in October. Between two events at the Japanese Grand Prix circuit, nineteen Super Formula drivers will visit Okayama International Circuit, Fuji Speedway, Twin Ring Motegi, Autopolis and Sportsland Sugo.

2017 Super Formula calendar

Round 1April 23Suzuka Circuit
Round 2May 28Okayama International Circuit
Round 3July 9Fuji Speedway
Round 4August 20Twin Ring Motegi
Round 5September 10Autopolis
Round 6September 24Sportsland Sugo
Round 7October 29Suzuka Circuit
2017 Super Formula preview

Most of the teams changed their driver line-ups

Eleven Toyota drivers and eight Honda drivers on the grid

Dallara SF14 chassis remains in the championship for the fourth consecutive season, accommodating Honda HR-417E or Toyota RI4A engines. The entry list consists of 19 drivers from eleven teams, divided into two opposite camps – eleven Toyota entries and eight Honda entries.

The reigning champion Yuji Kunimoto stayed with the P.mu/cerumo・INGING team, sealing up the number 1 on his Toyota-powered Dallara SF14. Kunimoto exchanged the numbers with his teammate Hiroaki Ishiura, the 2015 champion who was driving the #1 car last year. This year, Ishiura will drive #2 Toyota.

Reigning champion Yuji Kunimoto will drive the #1 Toyota

Reigning champion Yuji Kunimoto will drive the #1 Toyota

Kondo Racing opted for two rookies

Kondo Racing will have cars #3 and #4 again but with a completely changed line-up of drivers. Nick Cassidy replaces James Rossiter in the #3 Toyota, Kenta Yamashita will drive the #4 car instead of William Buller. Both Cassidy and Yamashita are rookies, progressing from Japanese Formula 3.

Another rookie, Felix Rosenqvist from Sweden, will drive the #7 Toyota for Sunoco Team LeMans. His teammate in the #8 car will be Kazuya Oshima, who returns to Super Formula as a full-time entry for the first time since 2012. Last year’s Sunoco Team LeMans’ driver Kamui Kobayashi joined KCMG to drive #18 Toyota.

Some of Toyota drivers for the 2017 Super Formula season

Some of Toyota drivers for the 2017 Super Formula season

Team Tom’s retains two veterans

Nissan GT Academy graduate Jann Mardenborough, after spending 2016 season in the Formula 3 and Super GT Series, joins Team Impul for his debut in the Super Formula with #20 Toyota. He replaces Joao Paulo de Oliveira in the team. Yuhi Sekiguchi remains Team Impul’s driver.

Team Tom’s is the only team on Toyota’s side of the grid with the same drivers. They re-signed SF veterans Andre Lotterer and Kazuki Nakajima.

2017 Super Formula Honda drivers

2017 Super Formula Honda drivers

Vandoorne left to F1, Izawa returns to Dandelion Racing

Among Honda teams, Real Racing dropped from two cars to a single entry, retaining Koudai Tsukakoshi in the #10 car. Takuya Izawa left Real Racing and rejoined his old team Dandelion Racing to drive #41 Honda, replacing Stoffel Vandoorne. Izawa was driving for Dandelion Racing from 2009 to 2013. Tomoki Nojiri is staying with Dandelion Racing for the fourth year in a row.

The 2016 GP2 Series champion Pierre Gasly is one of five Super Formula rookies

The 2016 GP2 Series champion Pierre Gasly is one of five Super Formula rookies in 2017

One more GP2 Series champion as Super Formula rookie

Team Mugen expanded to two cars. Naoki Yamamoto will contest again for the team, with GP2 Series champion and Super Formula rookie Pierre Gasly as his teammate. Following Drago Corse’s withdrawal from the championship, Takashi Kogure moved to another one-car team, joining B-MAX Racing Team in the #50 Honda. Nakajima Racing will run two cars again, retaining Daisuke Nakajima in the #64 Honda and replacing Bertrand Baguette with Narain Karthikeyan in the #65 car.

2017 Super Formula entry list

NumberTeamCar (engine)Driver
1P.mu/cerumo・INGINGDallara SF14 (Toyota)Yuji Kunimoto
2P.mu/cerumo・INGINGDallara SF14 (Toyota)Hiroaki Ishiura
3Kondo RacingDallara SF14 (Toyota)Nick Cassidy (R)
4Kondo RacingDallara SF14 (Toyota)Kenta Yamashita (R)
7Sunoco Team LeMansDallara SF14 (Toyota)Felix Rosenqvist (R)
8Sunoco Team LeMansDallara SF14 (Toyota)Kazuya Oshima
10Real RacingDallara SF14 (Honda)Koudai Tsukakoshi
15Team MugenDallara SF14 (Honda)Pierre Gasly (R)
16Team MugenDallara SF14 (Honda)Naoki Yamamoto
18KCMGDallara SF14 (Toyota)Kamui Kobayashi
19Itochu Enex Team ImpulDallara SF14 (Toyota)Yuhi Sekiguchi
20Itochu Enex Team ImpulDallara SF14 (Toyota)Jann Mardenborough (R)
36Vantelin Team Tom'sDallara SF14 (Toyota)Andre Lotterer
37Vantelin Team Tom'sDallara SF14 (Toyota)Kazuki Nakajima
40Docomo Team Dandelion RacingDallara SF14 (Honda)Tomoki Nojiri
41Docomo Team Dandelion RacingDallara SF14 (Honda)Takuya Izawa
50B-MAX Racing TeamDallara SF14 (Honda)Takashi Kogure
64TCS Nakajima RacingDallara SF14 (Honda)Daisuke Nakajima
65TCS Nakajima RacingDallara SF14 (Honda)Narain Karthikeyan

Photos: superformula.net,

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