NOVEMBER 1, 2005
For the younger generation
Aguri Suzuki was the second Japanese racing driver to become a Formula 1 regular, following in the footsteps of pioneer Satoru Nakajima. Suzuki had raced karts from the age of 12 and made his debut in racing with three races in Formula 3 (straight from karts) in 1979 and then raced intermittently until 1983 when he finished runner-up in the championship. Without the money to go forward to Formula 2 in Japan he took a job driving touring cars for the Nissan factory team and won the Japanese title in 1986, making his F2 debut that same year and also competing for the first time in the Le Mans 24 Hours. In 1987 he was runner-up in the Japanese F3000 series, winning one race and in 1988 he swept to the title, and at the end of the year made his F1 debut in Japan with Larrousse.
For 1989 he was signed to drive for the Zakspeed-Yamaha team but that proved to be a disaster and in 1990 he went back to Larrousse where in Japan he became the first Japanese driver to score an F1 podium, finishing third behind the Benettons of Nelson Piquet and Roberto Moreno. He remained at Larrousse in 1991 but then moved to the Footwork/Arrows team for 1992 and 1993. He dropped out of F1 in 1994 but returned in 1995 sharing the second Ligier with Martin Brundle but in qualifying for the Japanese GP he crashed heavily and injured his neck and decided to retire from the sport.
At the end of 1997 he announced the formation of Autobacs Racing Team Aguri (ARTA) which was intended to support Japanese drivers through the formative stages of their careers. Aguri has spent the last few years building up that scheme and helped Toshihiro Kaneishi to win the German Formula 3 title and Kousuke Matsuura to finish runner-up in the same series to Gary Paffett. In 2003 Suzuka did a deal with Adrian Fernandez and created the Super Aguri Fernandez Racing team in the Indy Racing League with Roger Yasukawa driving in 2004 and Matsuura taking over this year.
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