Two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen has long been considering getting behind the wheel again, and he has confirmed that he will compete in the Suzuka 10 Hours race in August of this year.
The Finn has not been seen on a circuit since 2011, when he raced a Mercedes SLS GT3 in China, but has been prepping for a return for some months.
He will be joined by two Japanese team-mates for the race; Katsuaki Kubota, who is a veteran of the Japanese F3 scene, and Hiroaki Ishiura, who competed in the Japanese Super GT championship in 2018, finishing fourth.
Hakkinen expressed his delight in returning in a statement, saying: “I visited the Suzuka Circuit for the first time in 16 years in March 2017 and was able to meet Japan’s enthusiastic fans once again.
“Then, last year, I drove the MP4/13 and enjoyed Suzuka’s unique figure-of-eight track layout. So, this year, I decided to return to racing for the first time since the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup round at Zhuhai in November 2011, and I chose Suzuka Circuit as the place for my comeback.”
Hakkinen, who won back-to-back F1 world titles in 1998 and 1999, clinched the first of those at Suzuka, so the circuit holds special memories for him.
He added: “Suzuka was also the place where I won the Formula 1 World Championship for the first time and where I have so many enthusiastic Japanese friends.
“I am very grateful to Katsu-san and Mobilityland for making this wonderful project possible. And I hope to see the Japanese fans again in August.”