The rebranded Super Formula Lights series has attracted a 12-car entry for its inaugural event at Motegi next weekend.
Previously known as All-Japan Formula 3, SF Lights will host three races on the undercard of each Super Formula round this year, for a total of 18 races in 2020. It uses the new Dallara 320 chassis – also seen in Euroformula Open – with a free choice of engine.
A 12-car entry for the Motegi round is one less than rival series Formula Regional Japan managed to assemble for its Fuji opener, but it should be noted FRJ’s car count slumped to just seven for its most recent round at Sugo.
Heading the entry list is Toyota SUPER GT and Super Formula squad TOM’S, which will enter two cars for Ritomo Miyata, last year’s All-Japan F3 runner-up behind Sacha Fenestraz, and Kazuto Kotaka, who was fifth last season but after missing two rounds.
Kotaka’s replacement for those races, Sena Sakaguchi, will drive full-time this year for the rival B-Max Racing squad, which is using Spiess engines.
Two Kondo Racing Nissan SUPER GT drivers, Kiyoto Fujinami and Mitsunori Takaboshi (also the 2017 All-Japan F3 champion) join Sakaguchi in the team for the Motegi opener.
The only other returnee that finished in the top 10 of last year’s standings is Shunsuke Kohno, who will drive a Toyota-powered car for the one-car RS Fine squad.
Elsewhere, Honda-backed ex-Carlin FIA F3 racer Teppei Nattori will race for the Toda Racing squad, using the team’s own engine, while Albirex Racing has two Tomei-powered cars entered for Seiya Jin and Tsubasa Iriyama.
Additionally, there is a ‘Masters’ class for older drivers, which has attracted three entries: B-Max boss Ryuji Kumita, who races for his own team under the alias ‘Dragon’, Motoyoshi Yoshida (B-Max) and Masayuki Ueda (Rn-sports).
Irish driver Lucca Allen, last year’s South East Asian F4 champion, was due to drive for Albirex but COVID-19 travel restrictions have prevented him from taking up his seat.
Likewise, ex-FIA F3 drivers Simo Laaksonen and Raoul Hyman both took part in last year’s post-season test at Suzuka for B-Max but neither were able to secure drives for Motegi.
A one-day test was held at Motegi earlier this month ahead of the season, with TOM’S driver Miyata topping both sessions and ending the day 0.639s clear of nearest rival Kohno.