Following an exciting race at Autopolis, the Super Formula Championship heads to Sportsland Sugo for the third race of the 2024 season. Asian Motorsport previews the weekend before the action starts at the Shibata track.

By Marco Albertini

The first two races of the 2024 Super Formula championship have seen Tomoki Nojiri win at Suzuka and Tadasuke Makino take his maiden Super Formula win at Autopolis, along with Ayumu Iwasa taking his maiden pole and podium at Autopolis.

Makino, who hasn’t finished higher than fifth in his time in Super Formula, currently leads the standings after his emotional win at Autopolis, level on points with two-time champion Tomoki Nojiri of Team Mugen, who endured a somewhat difficult race at Autopolis.

Nojiri’s teammate and Red Bull Junior Ayumu Iwasa is his rookie year at the premier open wheel championship in Japan and currently sits third in the standings after stunning the paddock by taking pole and second place in the Autopolis race.

Nakajima Racing’s Naoki Yamamoto stands fourth in the standings, level on points with Iwasa, never finishing below fourth in this season. He is continuing his impressive recovery after a terrible crash at Sugo in Super GT last season that forced him to sit out the rest of the year.

Kondo Racing’s Kenta Yamashita, the highest Toyota-powered driver, sits fifth in the standings, with a podium to his name at the opening round of the season.

In the teams’ championship, Team Mugen (Nojiri and Iwasa) lead by 4 points over Docomo Team Dandelion (Makino and Ohta) and 14 over PONOS Nakajima Racing (Yamamoto and Ren Sato)

Driver changes

Hibiki Taira will make his Super Formula debut for Itochu Enex Team Impul, replacing Ben Barnicoat for this round. This marks the first time since 1978 that a Super Formula round will not see a non-Japanese driver on the grid.

Weekend schedule

Free Practice 1 – 9:10 UTC+9 June 22nd
Qualifying 1A – 14:00 UTC+9 June 22nd
Qualifying 1B – 14:15+9 June 22nd
Qualifying 2 – 14:35 UTC+9 June 22nd

Free Practice 2 – 9:55 UTC+9 June 23rd
Race – 14:30 UTC+9 June 23rd

Super Formula drivers’ championship

  1. Tadasuke Makino (Dandelion) – 23
  2. Tomoki Nojiri (Mugen) – 23
  3. Ayumu Iwasa (Mugen) – 20
  4. Naoki Yamamoto (Nakajima) – 20
  5. Kenta Yamashita (Kondo) – 19
  6. Kakunoshin Ohta (Dandelion) – 16
  7. Sena Sakaguchi (Cerumo/INGING) – 12
  8. Sho Tsuboi (TOM’S) – 11
  9. Nirei Fukuzumi (KCMG) – 8
  10. Ren Sato (Nakajima) – 6
  11. Nobuharu Matsushita (TGM) – 3
  12. Kamui Kobayashi (KCMG) – 1
  13. Kazuya Oshima (ROOKIE) – 0
  14. Iori Kimura (B-Max) – 0
  15. Ukyo Sasahara (TOM’S) – 0
  16. Ben Barnicoat (Impul) – 0
  17. Atsushi Miyake (Threebond) – 0
  18. Toshiki Oyu (Cerumo/INGING) – 0
  19. Juju Noda (TGM) – 0
  20. Kazuto Kotaka (Kondo) – 0
  21. Theo Pourchaire (Impul) – 0
  22. Yuji Kunimoto (Impul) – 0

Super Formula teams’ championship

  1. Team Mugen – 39
  2. Docomo Team Dandelion Racing – 35
  3. PONOS Nakajima Racing– 25
  4. Kondo Racing – 19
  5. Vantelin Team TOM’S – 11
  6. Vertex Partners Cerumo INGING – 9
  7. Kids.com Team KCMG – 9
  8. TGM Grand Prix – 3
  9. docomo business ROOKIE – 0
  10. San-Ei Gen with B-Max – 0
  11. Itochu Enex Team Impul – 0
  12. Threebond Racing – 0

Header image credit: Honda Racing

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