Heikki Kovalainen announces switch to Super GT in Japan

1 Comment

Former Formula 1 driver Heikki Kovalainen has confirmed that he will be racing in this year’s Japanese Super GT championship, joining Lexus Team SARD for the 2015 season.

Kovalainen made his F1 debut back in 2007 for Renault, but was drafted in by McLaren as Fernando Alonso’s replacement for the 2008 season. He won the Hungarian Grand Prix that year en route to seventh place in the championship.

The Finn left Woking after 2009, joining backmarkers Caterham (nee Lotus Racing) for three difficult seasons. His final F1 appearance came at the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix where he deputized for the injured Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus F1 Team.

Now though, Kovalainen is set to try his hand at GT racing in Japan, confirming the move on his official Twitter account.

Kovalainen will race in the GT500 class alongside Kohei Hirate in the #39 Lexus Team SARD car, with his debut coming at Okayama in April.

Another man making the move over to Japan after F1 is Kamui Kobayashi, who will return to his native country to race in the Super Formula championship after a turbulent year with Caterham in 2014.

Beta Motorcycles joins SuperMotocross in 2024, Benny Bloss named first factory rider

Beta Motorcycles 2024 Bloss
Beta Motorcycles

Benny Bloss will race for the factory Beta Motorcycles team in 2024 as that manufacturer joins SuperMotocross as the ninth brand to compete in the series. Beta Motorcycles will make their debut in the Monster Energy Supercross opener at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California in January.

Benny Bloss finished among the top 10 twice in Pro Motocross, in 2016 and 2018. – Beta Motorcycles

“The wait is over and we can finally share everything we have been working towards,” said Carlen Gardner, Race Team Manager in a press release. “It has been a great experience being a part of this development and seeing the progression. The only missing part was finding a rider that would mesh well with our Beta Family.

“After a one phone call with Benny, we knew it would be a good fit for him, and for us. We are happy to have him on board for the next two years and can’t wait to see everyone at Anaheim in January.”

Bloss debuted in the 450 class in 2015 with a 15th-place finish overall at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Bloss has a pair of top-10 rankings in the division with a sixth-place finish in the Pro Motocross Championship in 2016 and a seventh in 2018. His best Supercross season ended 15th in the standings in 2018.

“I’m extremely excited to join the Beta Factory Racing team,” Bloss said. “It’s cool to see a brand with such a rich history in off-road racing to come into the US Supercross and Motocross space. I know this team will be capable of great things as we build and go racing in 2024.”

Bloss is currently 22nd in the SuperMotocross rankings and has not raced in the first two rounds of the Motocross season.

Testing for Beta Motorcycles is scheduled to begin in August and the team expects to announce a second rider at that time.

The family-owned brand adds to the international flare of the sport. The company was founded in Florence, Italy in 1905 as Società Giuseppe Bianchi as they built handmade bicycles, The transition to motorcycle production in the late 1940s.

Beta Motorcycles competed and won in motocross competition in the late 1970s and early 1980s with Jim Pomeroy and other riders.

Beta will join Triumph Motorcycles as a second historic brand to join the sport in 2024. First established in 1902, Triumph has won in nearly every division they have competed in, dating back to their first victory in the 1908 Isle of Man TT. Triumph will debut in the 250 class in 2024 and plans to expand into 450s in 2025.