Tim Covers Obscure Sports Leagues No One Asked Him to: Super Formula

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A view of the 2020 JMS P.mu/cerumo-INGING car. This car took first and second place in the race weekend. (Photo courtesy of Super Formula)

It was an exciting race weekend in Japan’s Okayama prefecture as Super Formula took to the Okayama International Circuit for the championship’s second race of the season. The Super Formula Championship is the top single-seat racing championship in Japan, which came out of Formula Nippon and Formula 2000. It is a form of open-wheel, single-seat formula racing similar to Formula 1 and IndyCar but with its own independent rule set. Unlike many motorsports you may be familiar with, the car choices are more limited inside the championship. All car chassis are constructed by Italian manufacturer Dallara, with teams choosing between Toyota and Honda for their engine supplier. The championship only has a single tire sponsor in the form of Tokyo-based Yokohama Rubber.  

This race saw Itochu Enex Team Impul driver Ryo Hirakawa take pole position after a very successful round of qualifiers for the second driver’s second race in a row. Hirakawa was also the winning driver of the Round 1 race at the Twin Ring Motegi on August 30th.  

The race had a very exciting start with a car impact very early into the first lap. Vantelin Team TOM’S rookie driver Ritomo Miyata made a slow start from his second position spot, which forced drivers Sacha Fenestraz and Tadasuke Makino to go around either side of him. As Fenestraz and Makino made it into turn one, Makino was hit by fellow Nakajima Racing driver Toshiki Oyu and spun out into Fenestraz. Makino and Fenestraz had to leave the race as their cars were too damaged to continue, but Oyu was able to return to the race with a drive-through penalty after a pit stop was able to cleanly change his front wing.  

Ritomo Miyata said that the day was quite difficult for him, as this was actually his second race of the day on Okayama. Earlier in the morning he had to take part in Super Formula Light’s race weekend for TOM’S. He said of the experience before Sunday’s race, “It was quite difficult, the power is different and the weight of the steering is different, so I got very confused. I made some mistakes at the start of the Lights race and this may have been the cause. So I am worried about whether switching between the two cars will work tomorrow. Physically it was ok today, but tomorrow’s race is 51 laps, so I am worried about whether I will have strength until the end.” 

The race ended with a pair of top finishes from the JMS P.mu/cerumo-INGING team. Drivers Sho Tsuboi and Hiroaki Ishiura took places one and two on the podium. Last year’s Super Formula drivers champion Nick Cassidy of New Zealand took third place to round out the podium.  

You can catch more exciting Super Formula action when the championship takes to Sportsland SUGO on Oct. 18 for its Round 3 race.  

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