ARTA recruits Button's title-winning SUPER GT engineer
The ARTA Honda team has recruited Jenson Button’s title-winning SUPER GT engineer in a surprise mid-season reshuffle.
Hitoshi Iyoki, who headed up the crew for fellow Honda team Team Kunimitsu when it won the 2018 GT500 title with Button and Naoki Yamamoto, replaces Ryan Dingle as the #8 ARTA NSX-GT’s chief engineer from this weekend’s Fuji round.
Canadian Dingle, who was one of only two non-Japanese chief engineers in GT500, has been shifted over to work on ARTA’s #55 GT300 entry as it is understood he is set to leave the Servus Japan-run team at the end of the year.
The ARTA car shared by Tomoki Nojiri and Nirei Fukuzumi qualified fifth for this weekend's Fuji race, best of the Honda contingent.
#8 ARTA NSX-GT
Photo by: Masahide Kamio
Iyoki returns to the frontline of GT500 competition after stepping down as Team Kunimitsu’s chief engineer following the team’s second championship victory in 2020 with Yamamoto and Tadasuke Makino.
The veteran engineer previously worked with ARTA in 2011-12, when the team was run in-house, and also had a spell at Drago Corse in 2015-16 before the team was replaced on Honda’s roster of GT500 outfits by Team Mugen.
Iyoki returned to Drago for its return to Super Formula in 2020 as track engineer for Tatiana Calderon, and also helmed the crew for the team’s GT300 effort in SUPER GT this year.
Drago pulled out of this weekend’s Fuji race after splitting with title sponsor Busou and doubts remain over whether the team will be able to return, despite team owner Ryo Michigami’s publicly-stated aim to return to action at Suzuka later this month.
Iyoki continues to work with Drago’s Super Formula team in a supporting role to Nirei Fukuzumi’s chief engineer Ryou Arai.
Dingle meanwhile is set to see out his Super Formula campaign with Team Goh’s Ren Sato ahead of his impending exit from Servus, which also runs the team.
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