Gallery: Hoppy Team Tsuchiya GT300 GR Supra

The 2022 Hoppy Team Tsuchiya GR Supra, built in the Tsuchiya Engineering shop in Fujisawa, was on display at Attack Tsukuba next to Under Suzuki’s Scorch Racing S15.  Seeing the two carbon-clad bodies side by side was a highlight of the event off the track for me.  Not having been up close to a Super GT car for many years, I was excited to get a chance to get an up-close look at the Tsuchiya built chassis.

This car was driven by Takamitsu Matsui and Seita Nonaka in the 2022 season of Super GT, and falls into one of the handful of GTA-GT300 Mother Chassis cars.  However, unlike the other MC cars, this Supra shares only the frame and engine from the others on the grid.  Everything else on the car was constructed in-house by the Tsuchiya team.  The car is a testimonial to the memory of expert car builder Haruo Tsuchiya, supervised by his son Takeshi and built by the next generation of mechanics and engineers.

The Hoppy team didn’t have the best of luck last season, but this year’s results so far seem to mark a notable improvement in their program.  Team owner Takeshi Tsuchiya expressed his expectations for the upcoming season, emphasizing the need for a significant improvement compared to last year. In 2022, Matsui and Nonaka managed to secure only a single point. Tsuchiya believes that delivering results is crucial for the team’s survival and is determined to make the fans happy.  Hoppy is one of the most adored GT300 teams and has a bit of an underdog aura about it.
For the current season, they continued competing with their handcrafted GR Supra chassis.  Toyota junior driver Seita Nonaka and Togo Suganami took the wheel of the #25 car, with Suganami stepping in for the departing Takamitsu Matsui, who had announced he was joining Team Mach before the season started.  For Suganami, this marks a return to full-time Super GT action after spending a significant portion of last year on the sidelines following his departure from the LEON Racing Mercedes team. The 27-year-old driver is eager to make a strong comeback and prove himself on the track.  Suganami had a rough start to the year, however, when in March pre-season testing, he speared into the barriers exiting Turn 1 in the wet conditions.  The car was heavily damaged and no doubt cost the team valuable test time, although they had no worries about repairing the car for Round 1.
Suganami, who made his Super GT debut in 2019 with LEON, experienced his first victory in 2020 alongside Naoya Gamou at Motegi. However, he was replaced by Takuro Shinohara after the 2021 campaign. In the previous season, Suganami participated in Super Formula Lights for B-Max Racing and also made a GT300 appearance for Saitama Toyo Pet Green Brave as a replacement driver.

While Tsuchiya hopes for Matsui’s growth and success with his new team, he also wants Nonaka to step up to the GT500 class next season.  The team’s goal is clear: to meet everyone’s expectations, fight for survival, and achieve strong results. Each member of the team has their own area of focus for personal growth to contribute to the team’s overall success.

As for Nonaka, he will continue his GT300 campaign while also competing in Super Formula Lights with Toyota’s flagship team, TOM’S.

Team Hoppy continued its partnership with Yokohama as their tire supplier, a long-standing collaboration that has proven successful over the years. With the new drivers on board and high hopes for the season, the team is ready to tackle the challenges and strive for a remarkable performance on the track.  While they aren’t at a level to fight for podiums, it is good to see that they have improved over last year.

Enjoy the gallery!

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