Artem Markelov has found a seat with Toyota in their shuffled Super Formula line-up for 2019 season as they also reveal the drivers for the Super GT campaign.
Having raced for years in the European scene, Markelov will move to Super Formula in 2019 with Toyota’s Team LeMans alongside Kazuya Oshima as the Russian gets the nod over few other non-Japanese candidates eyeing the seat.
Last year’s series runners-up Nick Cassidy has changed teams as he moves from Kondo Racing to Team Tom’s as a replacement for James Rossiter – who has been dropped from the set-up – alongside ex-F1 racer Kazuki Nakajima.
Cassidy’s Kondo seat has gone to Yuji Kunimoto, who moves from Inging to partner Kenta Yamashita, as Hiroaki Ishiura stays for another Super Formula season with Inging and has been paired up with the 2018 Japanese F3 champion Sho Tsuboi.
Team KCMG will continue to field just the one car for ex-F1 racer Kamui Kobayashi as Team Impul will keep an unchanged line-up of Yuhi Sekiguchi and Ryo Hirakawa. A big name missing from the list is of Pietro Fittipaldi, who was eyeing a Super Formula programme.
Meanwhile, looking at Toyota’s Super GT line-up with Lexus in the GT500 class, nine of the 2019 Super Formula drivers will dovetail their programme. Among those, last year’s runners-up Team KeePer Tom’s’ Cassidy and Hirakawa will continue on in the #37 car.
Likewise the #36 Team au Tom’s’ line-up is same as Nakajima and Sekiguchi, as is the #38 Team Zent Cermuo with Ishiura and Yuji Tachikawa. The other three Toyota entrants has changes in their line-up with Felix Rosenqvist moving on to IndyCar.
Rosenqvist’s seat at #6 Team LeMans Wako has been given to Yamashita – who moves on from #19 Team WedsSport Bandoh – to partner with Oshima. The #19 car will field Kunimoto as Tsuboi gets a full-time drive in Super GT as well.
And finally, the #39 Team Sard will continue to have ex-F1 racer Heikki Kovalainen but he will have a new teammate with Yuichi Nakayama joining the Finn. The drivers of four of the five GT300 Toyota entrants has also been revealed.
The #30 Pirus car will be driven by Hiroaki Nagai and Manabu Orido with the #31 to be driven by Koki Saga and Yuki Nakayama. The #60 Lexus will have Hiroki Yoshimoto and Ritomo Miyata with #96 having Morio Nitta and Sena Sakaguchi.