Sports

Toyota signs Sasahara, but Alesi keeps Super Formula drive

Ex-Honda driver Sasahara fills the TBA slot that had existed alongside Alesi in the #37 TOM’S Toyota GR Supra when Toyota initially announced its 2023 GT500 line-ups back in November.

However, despite expectations that Sasahara would also take the place of Alesi in the squad’s Super Formula line-up, Alesi has now been confirmed alongside Ritomo Miyata as part of an unchanged roster.

Miyata will partner Sho Tsuboi on board the #36 TOM’S GR Supra, as previously announced.

Alesi’s berth at TOM’S in Super Formula was called into question after a disappointing first full season with the team last year that yielded just one points finish all year, an eighth place at Fuji Speedway.

Sasahara was subsequently invited to share Alesi’s car for last month’s post-season rookie test at Suzuka, taking over the #36 car for the second day of the test and making a good impression with his speed and technical feedback.

However, missing out on the TOM’S drive means that Sasahara, who won two races last year but has been replaced at Team Mugen by Red Bull junior Liam Lawson, will not feature on the grid in 2023.

Sasahara nonetheless still becomes the first Japanese driver to transition from Honda to Toyota since Daisuke Ito in 2008, having already had his first taste of the GR Supra in a private test session late last month at Motegi.

2023 Toyota Super Formula line-up:

Team No. Driver
Kondo Racing 3 Japan Kenta Yamashita
4 Japan Kazuto Kotaka
KCMG 7

Japan Kamui Kobayashi

18

Japan Yuji Kunimoto

Rookie Racing 14

Japan Kazuya Oshima

Impul 19

Japan Yuhi Sekiguchi

20

Japan Ryo Hirakawa

TOM’S 36

France Giuliano Alesi

37

Japan Ritomo Miyata

Inging 38

Japan Sho Tsuboi

39

Japan Sena Sakaguchi

Toyota 2023 SUPER GT line-up:

Team

Tyre

No.

Drivers

TOM’S

Bridgestone

36

Japan Sho Tsuboi

Japan Ritomo Miyata

37

France Giuliano Alesi

Japan Ukyo Sasahara

Racing Project Bandoh

Yokohama

19

Japan Yuji Kunimoto

Japan Sena Sakaguchi

SARD

Bridgestone

39

Japan Yuhi Sekiguchi

Japan Yuichi Nakayama

Cerumo

Bridgestone

38

Japan Hiroaki Ishiura

Japan Yuji Tachikawa

Rookie Racing

Bridgestone

14

Japan Kazuya Oshima

Japan Kenta Yamashita

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