Two-time Formula 1 world champion Mika Hakkinen will drive a McLaren 720S GT3 in this year’s Suzuka 10 Hours.
The Finnish star, who won consecutive titles with McLaren in 1998 and 1999, will return to the circuit where he won his first world championship for the fourth Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli round.
Hakkinen will share the wheel with historic racing star Katsuaki Kubota and two-time Super Formula champion Hiroaki Ishiura, while the identity of the team running the entry will be released in due course.
2004 Le Mans winner Team Goh is one team known to be entering the new McLaren as part of the Japanese Super GT championship’s GT300 cohort which is joining the full-season IGTC field for the event, however its driver lineup has already been announced.
Hakkinen last raced in 2011, when he drove a Mercedes-AMG SLS GT3 in the 6 Hours of Zhuhai Intercontinental Le Mans Cup round, while Suzuka will also mark his first time competing in a McLaren in 18 years.
“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,” said the 50-year-old, who a McLaren ambassador.
“Then, last year, I drove the [McLaren] 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 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.”