Maximilian Günther has successfully completed his last engagement of the 2017 season. During the official tests for the Japanese SUPER FORMULA Championship, the 20-year-old impressed by virtue of a solid performance. On 6th December, Günther completed 77 laps on the Suzuka Formula 1 track in a 550bhp single-seater. He had a busier time than most of the 29 drivers in the field.
Günther was invited to test for Team LeMans, who won the inaugural season of the Japanese racing series in 1996 with Ralf Schumacher at the wheel. In the morning, Günther posted 43 laps – more than any other driver – and got through the entire programme mapped out by the team. During the second session in the afternoon, Günther put in another 34 laps.
In his first competitive outing in a car compliant with the requirements of this high-powered formula series, Günther finished the day in 15th position, with a personal best time of 1:37.170 minutes. That made him the best-placed rookie in a Toyota-powered car as well as the fastest of the Team LeMans drivers by a considerable margin. In the internal team contest, Max emerged one second ahead.
Günther’s car was shod throughout with the medium tyre compound, while the majority of the other drivers were testing on the significantly faster soft tyres that are destined for use in the 2018 season.
In addition to Günther, there were various well-known names from the sport testing for the Japanese SUPER FORMULA Championship. Former Formula 1 drivers Andre Lotterer, Kamui Kobayashi, Narain Karthikeyan, Kazuki Nakajima and Rio Haryanto were among the line-up for this particular open-wheel racing series, which is regarded by many as a stepping stone to Formula 1 and which also enjoys a high reputation in Europe.
Günther has completed his intensive test programme for the 2017 season with this debut performance in Japanese SUPER FORMULA. The previous week in Abu Dhabi, he had been seeking to impress in the official test drives for FIA Formula 2, the main feeder series to Formula 1. In October, the official test and reserve driver to the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Team also completed test drives in a 500bhp DTM car.
After finishing third in the 2017 FIA Formula 3 European Championship, Günther sees these tests in four different classes of car as offering a range of opportunities for securing the best possible package in the 2018 season.
Max Günther: “First of all, I would like to thank Team LeMans for this great opportunity and for the sheer professionality they have shown. I got a good impression of the series during the tests at Suzuka. I am pleased that I was able to support the team in the work they are doing to prepare for the 2018 season. I go into the winter break having accumulated plenty of experience, and we will now be having a number of discussions about what happens next. I have some very interesting options for the future, and we’ll be considering them all carefully.”