Sunday, July 14, 2024

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Super Formula was left without foreign drivers after Pourchaire was replaced

This follows Impul's decision to sign young Toyota driver Hibiki Taira to drive the number 19 SF23, which was originally intended to be promoted by current Formula 2 champion Theo Pourchaire all year long.

Pourchaire was the one 'gaijin' entered within the 2024 Super Formula season, but he left the category after the primary round at Suzuka when a likelihood opened up within the IndyCar Series with Arrow McLaren.

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Impul initially replaced Pourchaire with Lexus works driver Ben Barnicoat at Autopolis, ensuring a global presence on the grid within the second round.

However, Barnicoat was at all times intended to switch Pourchaire for only one event, because the Super Formula calendar includes multiple clashes along with his fundamental season within the GTD Pro class of the IMSA SportsCar Championship.

Impul has now decided to advertise Taira, which finished second in each the Super Formula Lights class and the GT300 SUPER GT class last yr, meaning your complete 21-car field will consist entirely of Japanese drivers.

The last time international representation in Japan's highest formula took place was in 1978, throughout the then-called All-Japan Formula 2 Championship.

Hibiki Taira, #2 Muta Racing GR86 GT

Hibiki Taira, #2 Muta Racing GR86 GT

Photo: Masahide Kamio

Taira is currently committed to the Sugo event on June 22-23, and Impul has not yet revealed who will partner Yuji Kunimoto within the Toyota-powered lineup for the remaining five races of the yr. Thanks to this, foreign drivers can re-join the grid later within the season.

Impul is yet to attain a degree within the 2024 Super Formula season, with the team's best result to date being thirteenth place achieved by Barnicoat in his one-off appearance at Autopolis.

Yuji Kunimoto, who moved from KCMG to Impul to drive the number 20 SF24, retired from the season opener at Suzuka before ending nineteenth at Autopolis.

Meanwhile, Pourchaire had a difficult Super Formula debut earlier within the yr in 18th place before prematurely exiting the championship.

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