Miki Koyama set to race after clearing rookie test

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Toyota junior Koyama, the reigning Formula Regional Japanese champion, is registered as the third driver for the Arnage Racing-run #50 Lexus RC F GT3 alongside Igor Fraga and Yuga Furutani for the Fuji 450km on May 4.

Both Fraga and Furutani were able to complete the rookie test in the opening official pre-season test at Okayama earlier this month, but rainy conditions in the subsequent test at Fuji scuppered attempts by Koyama to clear hers.

SUPER GT regulations require newcomers to complete 12 consecutive laps at a pace acceptable to the GTA, without incidents or running off-course.

Koyama and the Anest Iwata team sought permission from the GTA to complete her rookie test in a test session at Fuji last Friday, enabling to clear the requirements to make her race debut next week.

The 25-year-old former W Series competitor is therefore set to become SUPER GT’s first female driver since Cyndie Allemann in 2012.

“I was bracing myself for the rookie test, so firstly I’m relieved to have passed,” commented Koyama. “But I was able to drive with quite a good feeling and it turned out to be a fun test.

“Before now, there was a lot of rain and I wasn’t able to put all my laps together, but I was surprised at how just how good a car that Igor, Yuga and the whole team had been able to prepare [over the course of the Okayama opener]. It’s nice to be able to speak to everyone on the same level!”

 

Koyama is one of a number of rookie third drivers registered for what will be the first of five 450km races on the 2023 schedule.

Seiya Jin (Team LeMans Audi R8 LMS), Ryo Ogawa (apr Toyota GR86), Yuki Nemoto (apr Lexus LC500h) and Takumi Sanada (NILZZ Racing Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3) are all registered on a SUPER GT entry list for the first time, although teams are under no obligation to run all three drivers.

Shade Racing’s Shinossuke Yamada will also be hoping to turn his first laps in anger, as he didn’t appear in the race when he joined the team for last year’s Suzuka 450km.

As expected, Bruno Spengler’s place in the Team Studie BMW M4 GT3 is taken by Masataka Yanagida following the Canadian’s debut at Okayama.

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