Envision Virgin Racing driver Nick Cassidy looks set to miss the final two rounds of the Japanese Super GT season as preparations for his rookie Formula E campaign take priority.
The reigning Super Formula champion has replaced Jaguar Racing recruit Sam Bird at EVR following his star performance for the Audi customer team in the FE Marrakech rookie test – he topped the two sessions by half a second over Sergio Sette Camara.
The 2020 Super GT and Super Formula calendars were revised in the wake of the global health crisis, which have created a clash with Cassidy’s preparations for the 2020-21 FE campaign.
Sources have confirmed to Autosport that Cassidy left Japan shortly after last weekend’s Suzuka Super GT race to participate in a two-day private test with EVR at the Magione circuit in Italy.
The TOM’s Toyota driver is expected to return to Japan later this week, but the 14-day quarantine requirement means he will almost certainly have to miss the Motegi Super GT round on 8 November.
Cassidy should be allowed to take part in the Autopolis Super Formula round the following weekend before heading back to Europe for FE’s official pre-season test at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia across 28 November-1-December.
The first two days of the test clash with Super GT’s season finale at Fuji Speedway, and a spokesperson for EVR clarified to Autosport that Cassidy is expected to complete all four days of running.
That would also put Cassidy’s participation for Super Formula’s Suzuka double-header (5-6 December) in doubt unless the quarantine rules are lifted beforehand.
A request for comment from TOM’S on the situation has yet to be returned.
Cassidy and Toyota GR Supra team-mate Ryo Hirakawa are currently second in the Super GT standings, one point behind Cerumo Toyota pair Sho Tsuboi and Kazuya Oshima.
Should Cassidy be unable to race at Motegi or Fuji, Hirakawa will be left to fight for a second title alongside a new team-mate.
The favourite for the seat would be defending champion Kenta Yamashita, who gave up Super GT this season to focus on his commitments in the World Endurance Championship and Super Formula.
Yamashita has already made one appearance in Super GT this season driving for the SARD Toyota team in the opening round at Fuji, replacing the absent Heikki Kovalainen.