Karthikeyan, who became India’s first Formula 1 driver in 2005, will drive a Honda NSX-GT for Nakajima Racing after testing for the squad at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit last month.
The 41-year-old will team up with Formula 2 race winner Tadasuke Makino, who achieved a podium finish during his brief stint in Super GT in 2016.
Karthikeyan’s move to Super GT marks a full-time switch to sportscar racing after two decades of primarily driving single-seaters.
The 41-year-old has been racing in Super Formula, widely regarded as the fastest racing series after F1, for the last five years and scored two richly-deserved podiums at Suzuka and Okayama during that period.
He spent the last two years of his Super Formula career with Nakajima Racing and impressed his bosses enough to secure a switch to Super GT, which enjoys a bigger following and a wider international audience.
The series is primarily famous for its three-way manufacturer battle between Honda, Nissan and Lexus and remains one of the few championships in the world to embrace a tyre war.
Karthikeyan’s team Nakajima has an exclusive deal with Dunlop, while the remaining 14 teams on the grid have separate deals with Michelin, Bridgestone and Yokohama.
Super GT attracts several Japanese and international names, not least 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button, who Karthikeyan knows since they raced against each other in British F3 in 1999.
Super GT recently announced a tie-up with DTM which will encompass crossover races between the two series, pitting Karthikeyan against the likes of Le Mans 24 Hours winner Loic Duval, former grand prix driver Timo Glock, among others.
Narain Karthikeyan, Nakajima Racing
Photo by: Surya Prakash