Two-time FIA Formula 1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen is set to race in the Intercontinental GT Challenge Suzuka 10 Hours in August, driving a new McLaren 720S GT3.
The Finn will race alongside historic racer Katsuaki Kubota and two time Super Formula champion Hiroaki Ishiura for a team which has yet to be revealed.
The weekend at Suzuka will not be his maiden GT outing. In the past Hakkinen has had experience racing GT cars since retiring from Formula 1, competing in the 2011 ILMC race at Zhuhai aboard a Mercedes SLS GT3 (below) and more recently in GT Asia back in 2013, taking a race win at the same venue in China.
“I visited Suzuka Circuit for the first time in 16 years in March 2017 and was able to meet Japan’s enthusiastic fans once again,” he said.
“Then, last year, I drove the MP4/13 and enjoyed Suzuka’s unique figure-of-eight track layout. So, this year, I decided to return to racing for the first time since the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup round at Zhuhai in November 2011, and I chose Suzuka Circuit as the place for my comeback.
“Suzuka was also the place where I won the Formula 1 World Championship for the first time and where I have so many enthusiastic Japanese friends. I am very grateful to Katsu [Kubota]-san and Mobilityland for making this wonderful project possible. And I hope to see the Japanese fans again in August.”
The McLaren Customer Racing Japan team of Kazumichi Goh is set to enter the Suzuka 10 Hours with a two-car McLaren 720S GT3 effort with driver squads still to be announced. It is not yet clear whether the Hakkinen car is part of this team’s Suzuka plans or an additional McLaren effort.