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Motoyama confirms split from Team LeMans SUPER GT squad

SUPER GT legend Satoshi Motoyama's eponymous team has confirmed its split from Team LeMans following last weekend's Okayama season-opener.

#6 Team LeMans Audi R8 LMS

The collaboration between Motoyama and ex-Toyota GT500 squad Team LeMans has come to an end just days after the Audi outfit scored its first-ever points with fifth place in the 2022 curtain-raiser.

Motoyama's name was absent from the entry list for the second round of the season at Fuji when it was published on Tuesday, with ex-Formula 1 racer Roberto Merhi and Shintaro Kawabata instead joining Yoshiaki Katayama.

The team name had also changed from 'Motoyama Racing w/ Team LeMans' to simply 'Team LeMans'.

A press release issued by Motoyama stated that the change resulted from a "termination of the contract from the team side".

Merhi is expected to race for the team for the rest of the season as Katayama's new partner, starting with the 450km Golden Week event at Fuji on May 3-4.

Long-time Nissan SUPER GT driver Motoyama, who won GT500 titles for the brand in 2003, '04 and '08, entered the GT300 class for the first time in 2021 with LeMans and Katayama, with the duo failing to score points all year.

 

However, the pair were boosted ahead of the 2022 season by the implementation of the Evo II upgrade for their Audi R8 GT3 LMS and several organisational changes, including the arrival new chief engineer Ryuichi Kondo.

That culminated in fifth place for Motoyama and Katayama at Okayama, by far their best finish together.

Commenting on the end of his relationship with Team LeMans, Motoyama said: "It took us a whole season and one race, but by taking our sought-after first points finish and with the attacking, professional drive of our young driver Yoshiaki Katayama, I think we we achieved our original goals.

"I am not able to take part in the second race of the season, and as a result I may not be able to meet the expectations of my fans and sponsors, but as a professional driver, I will accept the current situation and seek a new path."

Motoyama will remain busy in 2022 as he continues in his team principal role for the B-Max Racing Super Formula outfit and via his eponymous Team Motoyama squad's involvement in TCR Japan.

  • Stream every qualifying session and race of the 2022 SUPER GT season only on Motorsport.tv.

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