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Toranosuke Takagi

12th February 1974 (Age 46)
Shizuoka, Shizuoka Prefecture
Most recent race (in database):

Tora Takagi’s two seasons as a Formula 1 driver are best remembered for accidents and some glimpses of natural talent. The son of a national touring car driver and a championship winner in karts, the aggressive Takagi switched to single-seaters and Formula Toyota in 1992.

Early racing career

A race winner that year, the teenager graduated to Japanese Formula 3 with TOM’s Toyota. Although he did not win a race in two seasons with the team, he was sixth in the 1994 standings. Satoru Nakajima recognised his potential and Takagi also made his Japanese Formula 3000 debut for Nakajima Planning that year.

The 1995 campaign proved to be a breakthrough one for Takagi. He won three times and finished as runner-up behind Toshio Suzuki in what was the last season of F3000 in Japan. He continued with Nakajima in the new Formula Nippon and won races for the next two seasons.

Formula 1 with Tyrrell and Arrows

However, his ambitions lay in F1 and Takagi tested extensively for Tyrrell during 1997. Promoted to the race team for 1998, there were incidents aplenty and Takagi finished no higher than ninth. He moved to Arrows for 1999 and finished seventh in the Australian Grand Prix but was frustrated more often than not by mechanical failures and a couple of spins, including spectacular contact with Luca Badoer’s Minardi at Monza.

Formula Nippon champion and racing in America

He returned to Formula Nippon in 2000 with Nakajima Planning’s Reynard 2KL-Mugen and won the championship after a dominant season. Takagi then raced for the Walker Motorsports Champ Car team during 2001 and 2002. Fourth at Houston in 2001 and Chicago a year later were his best results. He tested a Toyota TF102 at Paul Ricard but there was no route back to F1.

Another two years were spent in the Indy Racing League with Mo Nunn’s Pioneer-sponsored concern. Takagi finished fifth at Indianapolis in 2003 to win the Rookie of the Year award but largely disappointed.

He returned to Japan in 2005 and promptly won the Super GT title with Toyota Team Cerumo and co-driver Yūji Tachikawa. He continued in GT and Formula Nippon for another three seasons.