Kunimitsu's iconic Raybrig sponsorship deal to end after 2020
Team Kunimitsu’s decades-long sponsorship deal with Raybrig will conclude after the 2020 SUPER GT season at Fuji Speedway this weekend, the championship-winning outfit has announced.
Former motorcycle racer and one-time Formula 1 grand prix starter Kunimitsu Takahashi's eponymous team has been racing in SUPER GT and its forerunner the All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship since 1994, with Raybrig joining the team the following year at the Le Mans 24 Hours before extending that partnership to the JGTC in 1997.
The Kunimitsu-Raybrig partnership has been one of the most iconic in Japan's domestic motor racing series, spawning a popular blue livery that remains on the team's Honda NSX-GT.
However, Japanese light bulb maker Stanley Electric has decided to discontinue the Raybrig brand, leading to the termination of its partnership with Kunimitsu.
Team Kunimitsu, which won its maiden GT500 title with Formula 1 champion Jenson Button and Noaki Yamamoto in 2018, said it will remain in SUPER GT next year and will release more details about its programme at the Tokyo Auto Salon in January.
It currently competes in the 2020 season with Yamamoto and ex-Formula 2 driver Tadasuke Makino following Button's exit from SUPER GT.
"With the release of Stanley Electric Co., Ltd., we are pleased to announce that our team vehicle "Raybrig NSX-GT", which has been supporting us for many years with the final round of SUPER GT2020, will reach the last run," Team Kunimitsu said in a statement.
"We will continue to participate in Team Kunimitsu's SUPER GT from next year onwards. The system announcement for the next fiscal year will be announced at the Tokyo Auto Salon scheduled to be held in January 2021.
"Please continue to support car No. 100 Raybrig NSX-GT, Team Kunimitsu so that Raybrig NSX-GT will welcome the last run to regain the championship at the final round of Fuji Speedway."
SUPER GT risked losing another iconic livery last year when Impul's long-time sponsor Calsonic was acquired by Magneti Marelli.
However, Magneti Marelli eventually decided to retain the Calsonic brand after the acquisition, allowing the Nissan team to retain its popular blue colour scheme.
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