Yamamoto: Younger teammate presents a challenge

Jamie Klein

Yamamoto will aim to win a second SUPER GT crown alongside Tadasuke Makino, who replaces 2009 Formula 1 champion Jenson Button in Team Kunimitsu's line-up this year.

Prior to a two-year spell partnering Button that yielded the 2018 title, Yamamoto's only full-season partners had been Takuya Izawa, who is four years his senior, and Frederic Makowiecki, who is eight years older.

Makino on the other hand is nine years younger than Yamamoto, making the latter unquestionably the senior driver in the new Team Kunimitsu partnership.

"In SUPER GT in the past I have only partnered older drivers," said Yamamoto during last weekend's Tokyo Auto Salon, where he and Makino were formally unveiled as teammates.

"Honestly, there’s a part of me that isn’t sure how to deal with a younger driver [as a teammate]. Until now, I was following in the path of the elder driver, but from now I will have to take the lead, so I think it will be a year of new challenges.

"My title defence ended with disappointing results, which is a particular regret. So I want to win the title together with Makino as a present to Kunimitsu-san."

Naoki Yamamoto, Team Kunimitsu Honda NSX-GT

Naoki Yamamoto, Team Kunimitsu Honda NSX-GT Masahide Kamio

Masahide Kamio