Team Mugen snatches the Super Formula crown after a five-way battle

31.10.2018

Naoki Yamamoto took his second Super Formula title in Suzuka last weekend behind the wheel of his Team Mugen Honda, following a fierce five-way thriller.

Mathematically, five drivers were in contention for the title but the fiercest battle was fought out between Yamamoto and the New Zealander Nick Cassidy, who had an impressive season with Toyota and had been leading the championship before the final weekend. Saturday’s qualifying made the situation even tighter, after Yamamoto took pole and closed the points gap between himself and Cassidy to just four points.

Naoki Yamamoto took his second Super Formula title in Suzuka last weekend behind the wheel of his Team Mugen Honda, following a fierce five-way thriller.

Come race day, Yamamoto started out on soft tyres and managed to pull away from the competition. When he came into the pits for new rubber, it was the Kiwi driver who took the lead for a few laps, profiting from his longer-lasting hard compound tyres. The lead went back to Mugen after Cassidy’s stop but when the Kiwi left the stand, he came back into the race just 7.5 seconds behind Yamamoto, and then proceeded to close down that gap to a staggering 0.8 seconds by the final lap. An epic nail-biting lap ensued which felt like it lasted for an hour, especially with the stakes as high as the Super Formula Championship crown. But when the chequered flag finally dropped at Suzuka, it was Naomi Yamamoto who held the lead and he was duly crowned champion.

 

Yamamoto, who is most famous for sharing driving duties in the Mugen Honda NSX with Jenson Button, can now add a second Super Formula title to his list of achievements.

 

Team Mugen snatches the Super Formula crown after a five-way battle

A new breed for 2019

The Suzuka race was not only the swan song of the 2018 season but there was also the final of the Dallara SF14. The Super Formula is a spec-racecar championship in which every team runs on exactly the same chassis and is given a choice between a Honda engine or a Toyota engine. The ‘14’ in SF14 indicates it has been going since 2014 – and the car has impressed every driver who has sat behind the wheel, including many European F1 Aces such as André Lotterer and Stoffel Vandoorne. Before the 2017 rule changes in F1, which made them significantly faster, the SF14 could easily hold its own against a midfielder in the single-seaters premier league.

 

The outgoing SF14 is being replaced with a new iteration, the SF19, which was showcased at Suzuka by Takuma Sato and Kabuki Nakajima.

 

A new breed for 2019
Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn more

© 2018 Motul

Change location