Double F1 champion Hakkinen to return to racing at Suzuka 10 Hours
|By Jack Benyon||Tuesday, April 9th 2019, 09:57 GMT|
Double Formula 1 champion Mika Hakkinen will contest the Suzuka 10 Hours in a McLaren 720S GT3.
The ex-DTM driver and 20-time grand prix winner will be partnered by Katsuaki Kubota and Hiroaki Ishiura for the August 23-25 event, which is a round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. The team he will compete with is yet to be revealed.
Hakkinen has been considering a racing comeback for some time, and has raced historics at Goodwood in the UK.
But this event would be a first international outing since 2011 when he raced a Mercedes SLS GT3 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."
Kubota is a regular in Japanese F3 and historics, while Ishiura is a double Super Formula champion, in 2015 and 2017. He is also a regular in the prestigious Japanese Super GT championship which he finished fourth in last year.
Last year's Suzuka 10 Hours was won by Maro Engel, Tristan Vautier and Raffaele Marciello in an SLS GT3.