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Super Formula driver market: Toyota set for major reshuffle

Super Formula driver market: Toyota set for major reshuffle

Miyata will not defend his Super Formula title as he embarks on a double programme in F2 and the European Le Mans Series, opening up a desirable seat at TOM’S.

Motorsport.com has learned that Sho Tsuboi, who has driven with Inging since his Super Formula debut in 2019, is likely to fill Miyata’s place alongside Ukyo Sasahara.

Tsuboi is already familiar with TOM’S, where he drives in SUPER GT, winning this year’s championship alongside Miyata.

Sasahara meanwhile is expected to stay at TOM’S for his first full season with the team after he replaced the underperforming Giuliano Alesi for the final four races of 2022.

Team Impul meanwhile is looking like it will go into the new season with an entirely new line-up following confirmation Ryo Hirakawa is joining Miyata in exiting Super Formula.

Ritomo Miyata, VANTELIN TEAM TOM’S

Photo by: Masahide Kamio

Ritomo Miyata, VANTELIN TEAM TOM’S

Formula 2 champion-elect Theo Pourchaire was known to be in talks with Impul and KCMG about 2024 seats, and it appears finally he will replace Hirakawa.

However, Yuhi Sekiguchi is set to be sidelined after a miserable 2023 season in which he failed to score points.

In a surprise move, 2016 champion Yuji Kunimoto has been strongly linked with a promotion to Impul after spending the last four seasons at KCMG.

This in turn would free up a seat at KCMG alongside Kamui Kobayashi, who is expected to finally stay on at the team despite hinting at a possible exit earlier in the season.

Both this seat and the vacated place at Inging next to Sena Sakaguchi will be occupied by newcomers to the Toyota fold. Nirei Fukuzumi, who is believed to have an agreement to move from Honda to Toyota, has been tipped to take one of these places.

Speculation meanwhile continues to swirl about Toshiki Oyu’s future, and a move to Toyota appears to be the only way he would be able to stay on the Super Formula grid in 2024.

The remaining Toyota teams, Kondo Racing (Kenta Yamashita, Kazuto Kotaka) and Rookie Racing (Kazuya Oshima), look certain to go into 2024 with unchanged line-ups.

Pourchaire is likely to be the only international driver on the Toyota roster for 2024, leaving other hopefuls – including Super Formula Lights drivers Igor Fraga and David Vidales – having to search for options with Honda-powered teams.

Hibiki Taira is also looking set to miss out on a place in Super Formula after falling short of the Super Formula Lights title last weekend at Motegi. A fourth season in the second division category with TOM’S is a possibility, however.

Toyota is expected to announce its driver line-ups the week after the post-season test at Suzuka, which takes place on December 6-8.

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