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Toyota Team Thailand to sit out 2022 SUPER GT season

Toyota Team Thailand will not race in SUPER GT’s GT300 class this season, Motorsport.com has learned.

#35 arto RC F GT3

The championship’s only international entrant is taking a year out of competition as Japan’s COVID-19 travel restrictions are set to prevent the team’s Thai owners from travelling to the country for a third season in a row.

It brings to an end five years of participation in SUPER GT for the team that have yielded no points finishes, although a return in 2023 is planned.

Following a pair of one-off outings at local circuit Buriram, Team Thailand first joined SUPER GT full-time in 2017 campaigning a Toyota 86 Mother Chassis car for Thai duo Nattapong Horthongkum and Nattavude Charoensukhawatana.

It switched to a Lexus RC F GT3 for 2019, signing 2018 GT300 runner-up Sean Walkinshaw to partner Horthongkum, but results failed to pick up.

The team missed the opening round of the 2020 season as COVID-19 restrictions disrupted its plans, then fielding an all-Japanese line-up of Masahiro Sasaki and Yuui Tsutumi before Walkinshaw returned for the final three races, joined by new signing Mathias Beche.

With Hortongkum still unable to race in 2021, Walkinshaw was partnered by Giuliano Alesi as the ex-Formula 2 racer and Ferrari junior embarked on a double programme in Japan.

 

The team’s performances improved in the second half of the year after the team secured a fresh RC F chassis in the wake of July's Motegi round, but Walkinshaw and Alesi still could not improve on the team’s best-finish of 15th as a full-time entrant, only managing a best result of 17th.

While Alesi has been promoted to a Toyota GT500 drive with TOM’S for 2022, Briton Walkinshaw has said he will focus on finding a drive on the European GT scene this year ahead of a potential SUPER GT return in 2023.

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Lexus will remain represented with at least one car on the 2022 SUPER GT grid via K-Tunes Racing, which has reunited veteran duo Shinichi Takagi and Morio Nitta to drive its solo RC F GT3.

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