2018 Super Formula entry list: Six rookies among twenty-one samurais

  • 2018 Super Formula preview
  • 2018 Super Formula preview
  • 2018 Super Formula preview
  • 2018 Super Formula preview

The 2018 Japanese Super Formula Championship, the sixth season of the Japanese premier open-wheel competition under the Super Formula name, will start this weekend at Suzuka Circuit. The championship featured seven racing weekends in six venues, the same as the year before.

The grid again consists of nineteen cars from eleven teams, with twenty-one drivers announced as competitors, sixteen of them from Japan and five foreigners.

The last season for Dallara SF14 chassis

All drivers will use a Dallara SF14 chassis for the last time as a new SF19 chassis is announced for the next season. Engine suppliers are the same – Toyota (11 cars) and Honda (8 cars).

The 2017 champion Hiroaki Ishiura will try to defend his title in the #1 Toyota against six rookies and fourteen drivers who already have experience in Super Formula.

2018 Super Formula, #1 Toyota, Hiroaki Ishiura

Hiroaki Ishiura’s #1 Toyota

Andre Lotterer left championship after fifteen seasons

There are many changes on the grid. Andre Lotterer left the championship after fifteen seasons in Formula Nippon and Super Formula, in which he was ten times in the top 3 drivers, including championship title in 2011. Takashi Kogure, who made Formula Nippon debut in 2003, also left the series.

Last year’s front-runners Pierre Gasly and Felix Rosenqvist also won’t be on the grid in 2018. Gasly graduated to Formula One while Rosenqvist focuses on Formula E. One more European youngster Jann Mardenborough left Super Formula to focus on Super GT Series only.

Pietro Fittipaldi, Super Formula, Sunoco Team LeMans

Pietro Fittipaldi will race in Super Formula and IndyCar Series in 2018

Two returnees and six rookies

Who are replacements? James Rossiter is returning to Super Formula after one season out of the championship, joining Kazuki Nakajima in Vantelin Team Tom’s instead of Lotterer. Ryo Hirakawa is also returnee after two seasons out, replacing Mardenborough in the Team Impul’s #20 Toyota.

Among rookies, the biggest name is definitely Pietro Fittipaldi. A grandson of the former F1 champion won the World Series Formula V8 3.5 last year and would combine IndyCar Series and Super Formula this year. Due to clashing commitments, he will be replaced in the #7 Toyota at Autopolis and Sugo by another rookie Tom Dillmann.

2018 Super Formula, #7 Toyota

Pietro Fittipaldi and Tom Dillmann will drive the #7 Toyota

Four Japanese drivers among rookies

The 31-year-old Katsumasa Chiyo has an impressive record in GT racing but he will be rookie on the Super Formula grid in 2018, in the #50 B-Max Racing’s Honda. Docomo Team Dandelion Racing signed Nobuharu Matsushita to drive their #6 Honda. Matsushita spent last three seasons in GP2 Series and Formula 2 Championship.

On the other side, Team Mugen signed current Formula 2 driver Nirei Fukuzumi. As a reserve driver for Fukuzumi’s #15 Honda the team announced Sena Sakaguchi, a young F3 racer from Honda’s driver development programme.

Hiroaki Ishiura, Super Formula

Hiroaki Ishiura is a two-time Super Formula champion, he won in 2015 and 2017

Four champions on the grid

Along with a lot of new drivers, there are several Super Formula champions on the grid. P.mu/cerumo Inging team will have two of them – defending champion Hiroaki Ishiura in the #1 Toyota and 2016 champion Yuji Kunimoto in the #2 car.

Team Mugen retains the 2013 champion Naoki Yamamoto. A two-time champion Kazuki Nakajima will drive again for Team Tom’s, parallel to his FIA WEC commitments with Toyota.

Kazuki Nakajima, #36 Toyota, 2018 Super Formula

Kazuki Nakajima in the #36 Toyota

2018 Super Formula entry list

Number TeamEngineDrivers
1P.mu/cerumo・INGINGToyotaHiroaki Ishiura
2P.mu/cerumo・INGINGToyotaYuji Kunimoto
3Kondo RacingToyotaNick Cassidy
4Kondo RacingToyotaKenta Yamashita
5Docomo Team Dandelion RacingHondaTomoki Nojiri
6Docomo Team Dandelion RacingHondaNobuharu Matsushita
7Sunoco Team LeMansToyotaPietro Fittipaldi, Tom Dillmann
8Sunoco Team LeMansToyotaKazuya Oshima
15Team MugenHondaNirei Fukuzumi, Sena Sakaguchi
16Team MugenHondaNaoki Yamamoto
17Real RacingHondaKoudai Tsukakoshi
18Carozzeria Team KCMGToyotaKamui Kobayashi
19Itochu Enex Team ImpulToyotaYuhi Sekiguchi
20Itochu Enex Team ImpulToyotaRyo Hirakawa
36Vantelin Team Tom'sToyotaKazuki Nakajima
37Vantelin Team Tom'sToyotaJames Rossiter
50B-Max Racing TeamHondaKatsumasa Chiyo
64Nakajima RacingHondaNarain Karthikeyan
65Nakajima RacingHondaTakuya Izawa

Photos: Super Formula,

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