Yesterday saw the official launch of the 2007 Formula Nippon series. This year sees many changes to the Formula Nippon scene, including new drivers and circuits for Japan's premier racing category.

Lola supply the entire Formula Nippon grid and enjoys a long and successful relationship with the series, which has provided many Formula One drivers.

This season will see longer races with events now being held over 300kms rather than 230kms. The new Okayama International Circuit facility will also host a race in the ten round calendar. The points system will see changes with the International 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 arrangement.

The entry list for this season sees many changes with former champions such as Satoshi Motoyama and Benoit Treluyer joined by promising rookies like Joao Paulo De Oliveira, Fabio Carbone and Hiroki Yoshimoto who joins the series from GP2 in Europe.

A former Nippon racer returning to the fold will be experienced German, Michael Krumm who will compete for a full campaign with Team Impul. The Kazuyoshi led team introduced a significant new sponsor - Arabian
Oasis at the event.

Speaking at the launch, Satoru Nakajima, one of Japan’s most successful international exports and now a leading Nippon team owner, said: “Last year, saw a rejuvenated Formula Nippon with a new Lola chassis and engines from Honda and Toyota.  22 drivers competed superbly in the race and there will be the same number this year. There will be again a strong International driver line-up, with big names participating throughout the season.”

A general test was also held at Suzuka yesterday with all 22 drivers taking to the wet track. The test continues today. The leading times were:

1. Satoshi Motoyama 1'40"856
2. Tsugio Matsuda 1'40"946
3. Takashi Kogure 1'41"045
4. Benoit Treluyer 1'41"054
5. Loic Duval 1'41"384
6. Ronnie Quintarelli 1'41"604

2007 Entry List - All entries using Lola B06/51 chassis

Mobilecast IMPUL: (Toyota Engine)
#1 Benoit Treluyer
#2 Tsugio Matsuda

KONDO Racing: (Toyota Engine)
#3 Masataka Yanagida
#4 Joao Paolo Olivera

SG 5 Zigen: (Honda Engine)
#5 Katsuyuki Hiranaka
#6 Hiroki Yoshimoto

LeMans: (Toyota Engine)
#7 Toranosuke Takagi
#8 Tatsuya Kataoka

Reckless Cerumo: (Toyota Engine)
#11 Yuji Tachikawa
#12 Kota Sasaki

Arabian Oasis TEAM IMPUL: (Toyota Engine)
#19 Satoshi Motoyama
#20 Micheal Krumm

Nakajima Racing: (Honda Engine)
#31 Loic Duval
#32 Takashi Kogure

INGING: (Toyota Engine)
#33 Ronnie Quintarelli
#34 Naoki Yokomizo

TOM'S: (Toyota Engine)
#36 Andre Lottrer
#37 TBA

Dandelion Racing: (Honda Engine)
#40 Bjorn Wirdheim
#41 Fabio Carbone

ARTA: (Honda Engine)
#55 Yuiji Ide
#56 Toshihiro Kaneishi


Round 1   Fuji Speedway     April 1
Round 2   Suzuka                 April 15
Round 3   Motegi                 May 20
Round 4   Okayama             June 10
Round 5  Suzuka                  July 8
Round 6  Fuji Speedway     August 26
Round 7  Sugo                    September 16
Round 8  Motegi                 October 21
Round 9  Suzuka                 November 18

Sam Smith
Communications Manager
Lola Cars International Ltd
Glebe Road, St Peters Road,
PE29 7DS
Tel: +44 (0) 1480 359590
Fax: +44 (0) 1480 482970

The Formula Nippon cars prepare to join the track.
(Picture .f-nippon.co.jp)