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Satoshi Motoyama

4th March 1971 (Age 49)
Most recent race (in database):

With six years’ experience in karting, Satoshi Motoyama moved into cars in 1990 when driving for Le Garage Cox in Japanese Formula 3. Team-mate Naoki Hattori won the championship that year and Motoyama continued in the series for five seasons. He eventually notched up his only F3 win at Tsukuba in 1995 when driving a Dome Project Dallara-Mugen.

Formula Nippon champion

Runner-up to Pedro de la Rosa in that final F3 season, Motoyama joined Super Aguri to graduate to Formula Nippon in 1996. Third at Sugo was his best result during two seasons with the team before a switch to the Le Mans Company transformed his fortunes in 1998. Motoyama’s Reynard 97D-Mugen scored back-to-back victories early in the year and again at Mine to clinch his first national title with a round to spare.

Beaten by Tom Coronel in 1999, Motoyama raced for Team Impul from 2000 to 2003 and that combination dominated the series – winning the title twice and finishing in the top-three each season. He added the country’s Super GT title as well in 2003 in 2004 for the NISMO Nissan concern.

Formula 1 test driver and continued Japanese career

Motoyama drove a Jordan EJ13-Ford on the Friday of the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix and he tested for Renault later that winter. However, he continued to race in Japan and added a fourth Nippon title in 2005 having returned to Impul after a year away. Winner of the 2008 Super GT series, again for NISMO, he was part of the Highcroft Racing line-up that drove the Nissan DeltaWing in the 2012 Le Mans 24 hours. However, he crashed heavily at the Porsche Curves after contact with Kazuki Nakajima’s Toyota. Motoyama then spent the next 90 minutes trying in vain to repair the badly damaged machine in the full glare of the worldwide television audience.