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Toshio Suzuki

10th March 1955 (Age 64)
Saitama, Saitama Prefecture
Most recent race (in database):

With a long and successful career in Japanese racing, Toshio Suzuki was a championship winner in almost every category he competed in. His career was not confined to national racing alone for he won the 1992 Daytona 24 Hours and made two Grand Prix starts.

Double national karting champion, he won the inaugural Japanese Formula 3 title in 1979 driving a Heroes Racing Ralt RT1-Toyota. Suzuki then showed glimpses of form with a works March-Toyota in the British series in 1980 and 1981.

National success and Formula 1 debut

Suzuki returned to Japan’s strong national championships after that brief foray to Europe. He was reigning double sports car champion and a regular in the All-Japan Formula 3000 Championship when he arranged a two-race Formula 1 deal at the end of 1993. Already 38 years old, he replaced Philippe Alliot for the final two GPs of the season – qualifying his Larrousse LH93-Lamborghini at the tail of the field but finishing on both occasions.

Sports car success for Nissan and Toyota

He was also a regular sports car driver for Nissan by that time. Fifth in the 1990 Le Mans 24 Hours and winner of the 1992 Daytona 24 Hours were both shared with Japanese legends Kazuyoshi Hoshino (his regular co-driver) and Masahiro Hasemi.

He finished fourth in the 1993 Le Mans 24 Hours with a Toyota TS010 before finally clinching the Japanese F3000 title in 1995 by narrowly beating younger stars Tom Kristensen and Tora Takagi with a Hoshino Racing Lola T94/50-Mugen. That was the zenith of his single-seater career and he concentrated on endurance racing from 1998.

Second in the 1999 Le Mans 24 Hours when sharing an evocative Toyota GT-One with Keiichi Tsuchiya and Ukyo Katayama, he started that race for the 12th and final time in 2008.