Since returning to SUPER GT in its own right in 2017, Mugen has used Yokohama rubber, and scored its first top-three finish in that period last year at Motegi.
However, that hasn’t stopped the team ending its relationship with Yokohama in favour of pursuing a tie-up with Dunlop, which last year supplied only Nakajima Racing.
It comes at the same time as Mugen refreshing its driver line-up, with GT500 rookie Toshiki Oyu replacing long-time Honda driver Hideki Mutoh alongside Ukyo Sasahara this year.
The move gives Dunlop two cars in the top class of SUPER GT for the first time since 2010, when the Nakajima and SARD Lexus teams both used the British brand’s products.
Yokohama meanwhile is set to be represented by just Nissan squad Kondo Racing and Toyota outfit Racing Project Bandoh in 2021, its lowest GT500 car count since 2016.
Testing continues at Okayama
Pre-season testing for the GT500 runners continues this week with two days of running at Okayama, with 12 cars taking part. Honda and Toyota have all of their cars present at the track, while Nissan is represented only by Team Impul.
Real Racing Honda driver Bertrand Baguette is in action for the first time this year, after having missing last month’s Fuji Speedway test due to his mandatory quarantine period after returning to Japan from Europe.
However, Team Kunimitsu’s Tadasuke Makino is still recovering from meningitis and is not driving this week, while TOM’S Toyota driver Sacha Fenestraz is also absent.
The test follows two days of running for a handful of Yokohama and Dunlop GT300 runners at Okayama this week – including the works Subaru squad, which has yet to formally unveil its new BRZ, and the newly-announced Team LeMans with Motoyama Racing Audi effort.
Okayama test entry list
Honda: #1 Team Kunimitsu (Naoki Yamamoto), #8 ARTA (Tomoki Nojiri/Nirei Fukuzumi), #16 Team Mugen (Ukyo Sasahara/Toshiki Oyu), #17 Real Racing (Bertrand Baguette/Koudai Tsukakoshi), #64 (Takuya Izawa/Hiroki Otsu)
Toyota: #14 Rookie Racing (Kenta Yamashita/Kazuya Oshima), #19 Racing Project Bandoh (Yuji Kunimoto/Ritomo Miyata), #36 TOM’S (Yuhi Sekiguchi/Sho Tsuboi), #37 TOM’S (Ryo Hirakawa), #38 Cerumo (Hiroaki Ishiura/Yuji Tachikawa), #39 SARD (Heikki Kovalainen/Yuichi Nakayama)
Nissan: #12 Team Impul (Nobuharu Matsushita/Kazuki Hiramine)