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Super Formula Championship

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Super Formula Championship
Super Formula Series logo.gif
CategorySingle seaters
Inaugural season1973
Chassis suppliersDallara
Engine manufacturers
Tire suppliersYokohama
Drivers' championJapan Tomoki Nojiri
Teams' championcarenex Team Impul
Motorsport current event.svg
Current season

The Japanese Super Formula Championship is a formula racing series. It is considered as the top level of single-seater racing in Japan and regional major motorsports of Asia. The series is sanctioned by the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) and managed by Japan Race Promotion (JRP).

The first Japanese Top Formula championship was held in 1973 as the All-Japan Formula 2000 Championship. In 1978, the series transformed into the All-Japan Formula Two Championship, and again in 1987, into the All-Japan Formula 3000 Championship. For the most part, these Japanese racing series closely followed their European counterparts in terms of technical regulations. The JRP was established in 1995, and began managing the series in 1996, under its new name, the Formula Nippon Championship. The series' name was changed again in 2013, to Super Formula (officially Japanese Championship Super Formula until 2016).



In Japan, touring and sports car racing was very popular throughout the 1960s. The Japanese Grand Prix was originally held as an event for touring and sports cars, and was immediately established as the largest motor racing event in the country during its original run between 1963 to 1969. On the other hand, formula car racing had a more difficult time being established in the nation's motorsport landscape. The inaugural JAF Grand Prix at Fuji Speedway in 1969 was Japan's first major single-seater race. And in 1971, the Japanese Grand Prix was reformatted into an event centered around formula car racing. Neither event managed to be as popular with spectators as the Japanese Grand Prix was during its time as a sports car race.

All-Japan Formula 2000 (1973–1977)

In 1973, the Japan Automobile Federation established the All-Japan Formula 2000 Championship as the first top-level formula racing series in Japan, to promote the sport of formula car racing in the country.

The series was based on the European Formula Two Championship. But unlike European F2, which only allowed the use of racing engines based on mass production models, the JAF approved the use of purpose-built racing engines from manufacturers such as Mitsubishi Motors.

All-Japan Formula Two (1978–1986)

In 1976, the FIA modified the Formula Two regulations to allow the use of purpose-built racing engines. With this change, the reasoning behind the name "Formula 2000" had disappeared, which led to the series being renamed the All-Japan Formula Two Championship from 1978.

These early years of formula racing in Japan were led by drivers such as Kunimitsu Takahashi, Kazuyoshi Hoshino, Masahiro Hasemi, Keiji Matsumoto, and Satoru Nakajima, who would go on to become the first Japanese driver to compete full-time in the Formula One World Championship. During the transition from Formula 2000 to Formula 2, a number of foreign drivers from the European F2 circuit began competing in and winning races in the Japanese series. 1981 European F2 champion Geoff Lees became the series' first non-Japanese champion when he won the All-Japan F2 title in 1983.

The Suzuka Formula Two Championship (established in 1977 as the Suzuka Formula 2000 Championship) was held concurrently at all events staged at Suzuka Circuit, to compete against the Fuji Grand Champion Series. During its run from 1977 to 1986, it was considered to be of equal prestige to the All-Japan Formula 2 Championship.

1987 championship

When European Formula Two ended in 1984, its Japanese counterpart did not follow suit immediately. The JAF considered starting a new Formula Two series from 1988. However, all entrants ran Formula 3000 cars in 1987. So, the 1987 Formula Two Championship was cancelled due to no entry of any cars for that format.

All-Japan Formula 3000 (1987–1995)

Switching to the open Formula 3000 standard in 1987, the All-Japan Formula 3000 Championship officially started in 1988.

During the late 1980s, a number of factors contributed to a surge in popularity for Japanese Top Formula racing. Honda-powered Formula One teams began winning multiple championships. The Japanese Grand Prix was reintroduced to the Formula One calendar in 1987, and that same year, Satoru Nakajima began competing full-time in F1. Fans began following the series through Fuji Television's broadcasts of Formula One, resulting in an increased interest in all forms formula racing. Combined with the asset-driven bubble economy of the 1980s, the All-Japan Formula 3000 Championship attracted several entrants and investors.

Veteran drivers such as Hoshino, Hasemi, Takahashi, and Matsumoto were succeeded by a new generation of Japanese talents, led by 1988 champion Aguri Suzuki, and 1991 champion Ukyo Katayama - who would each go on to enjoy significant tenures in Formula One. The prosperous conditions within All-Japan F3000 also attracted many promising young drivers outside of Japan to compete in the series. Among those drivers included future Formula One Grand Prix winners Jean Alesi, Johnny Herbert, Eddie Irvine, and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. The most notable of these young drivers from outside Japan, however, was future seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher, who made a one-off appearance at Sportsland Sugo in 1991.

The eventual burst of the bubble economy led to a decline in the series' popularity during the early to mid 1990s. Japanese and European regulations paralleled one another until 1996, when the International Formula 3000 series became a one-make format to lower costs.

Formula Nippon (1996–2012)

The previous Formula Nippon logo
The previous Formula Nippon logo

In the mid-1990s, the Japanese Formula broke away, changing the form of the series to "Formula Nippon". The new Japan Race Promotion, formed by Fuji Television, became the promoter with the recognition of the series by the JAF as the Authority Sport Nationale (ASN) of Japan.

In the 2000s, sports car racing became more popular in Japan, and many Formula Nippon drivers doubled-up in the Japanese Super GT championship.

The 2006 season got off to one of the strangest starts in motorsport history. Because of heavy rain, the opener at Fuji was called off after two safety car laps, and Benoît Tréluyer was awarded the win with half points awarded.


The previous Formula Nippon chassis, the Swift FN09 (also known as the Swift 017.n), was introduced in the 2009 season and raced until the end of the 2013 season.
The previous Formula Nippon chassis, the Swift FN09 (also known as the Swift 017.n), was introduced in the 2009 season and raced until the end of the 2013 season.

Until 2002, Formula Nippon was an open formula, where a variety of chassis builders and engine manufacturers could compete. Chassis were supplied by Lola, Reynard, and G-Force, while Mugen-Honda supplied the vast majority of the engines (though Cosworth engines were found in the Formula 3000 era).

However, with the bankruptcy of Reynard in 2002, and the withdrawal of G-Force a year earlier, Formula Nippon once again followed F3000's lead in becoming a one-make series for the 2003 season. Formula Nippon cars were now all Lola B03/50 chassis powered by Mugen-Honda engines; however, unlike F3000, engines in Formula Nippon are open-tuned by private companies.

In 2006 Formula Nippon underwent a drastic revision of its regulations. A new Lola FN06 chassis was introduced, while the engine formula underwent drastic revision. Engine blocks were provided by Toyota and Honda, using the same engine block specifications as found in the 2005 Indy Racing League, with open-tuning still permitted.

American racecar manufacturer Swift Engineering produced the FN09 chassis that was used from 2009 through 2013.

Scoring System

  • Points are awarded in line with the standard FIA system used from 2003 to 2009, but with a bonus point given for pole position.
Position 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th Pole
Points 10 8 6 5 4 3 2 1 1

Super Formula (2013–present)

Start of the race at the 2014 Motegi round
Start of the race at the 2014 Motegi round


The base chassis for the series is the Dallara SF19, which was unveiled at Suzuka Circuit in October 2017. The SF19 was regulated to weigh 670 kilograms (including driver), and is powered by two-litre single turbo-charged engines from Honda and Toyota. While sharing the same base architecture as the NRE engines used in Super GT GT500 cars, the engines are detuned relative to their GT counterparts. It features a 'push to pass' style overtake system which allows for additional 5 kg/h of fuel flow to be used when active – increasing power.

The previous generation of the car, the Dallara SF14, was used between the 2014 to 2018 season, which featured at least 30% components manufactured in Japan.[1]

Comparable to a contemporary Formula One, the pole position lap in a Super-Formula Dallara SF14 at Suzuka Circuit in 2017, 1:35.907, is 8.588 seconds or 9.0% slower than the pole position time for the 2017 Japanese Formula One Grand Prix.

Specifications (2014–2018)[2]

Specifications (2019–present)


Despite the more technically demanding regulations, the Japanese top-level formula series remains a national series, with second tier status compared to the FIA Formula 2 and its predecessor GP2. Foreign drivers have always been regular participants in the Japanese championships, and there have been several drivers to come from a Japanese Formula 3000 or Formula Nippon drive to a prominent Formula One role; the best-known of these are Eddie Irvine, Ralf Schumacher, the 1996 Formula Nippon champion, and Pedro de la Rosa, the 1997 Formula Nippon champion.

Starting in 2022, Honda Performance Development, the United States division of Honda's motorsport operations, will offer a "win and you're in" format where the 2021 Formula Regional Americas Championship series champion will be given a stipend for sponsorship towards a Super Formula ride with a Honda team. The 2022 Super Formula scholarship was officially declined by Formula Regional Americas Championship 2021 champion Kyffin Simpson, citing the logistical challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions by the Japanese government that affected the 2021 season, including quarantine restrictions that affected Japanese and foreign drivers who participated in overseas events, including the FIA World Endurance Championship.[3] Similar "win and you're in" concepts are used in the North American single-seater ladder that includes former Super Formula driver Alex Palou driving for Chip Ganassi Racing with Honda support in the IndyCar Series. Road To Indy support series champions are typically awarded a funded drive to the next tier up to Indy Lights, where the series champion is then awarded a scholarship for 3 races in the IndyCar Series, including the Indianapolis 500.[4]


Season Drivers' Champion Team Champion Rookie of the Year
Driver Team Chassis* Engine* Tyre*
All-Japan Formula 2000 Championship (1973-1977)
1973 Japan Motoharu Kurosawa Heros Racing March 722 BMW M12/6 B Not awarded Not awarded
1974 Japan Noritake Takahara Takahara Racing March 842 BMW M12/6 B
1975 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino Victory Circle Racing March 742 BMW M12/6 B
1976 Japan Noritake Takahara Heros Racing Nova 512 BMW M12/7 B
1977 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino Heros Racing Nova 512B
Nova 532P
BMW M12/7 B
All-Japan Formula Two Championship (1978-1986)
1978 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino Heros Racing Nova 532P
Nova 522
BMW M12/7 B Not awarded Not awarded
1979 Japan Keiji Matsumoto Team LeMans March 782
March 792
BMW M12/7 D
1980 Japan Masahiro Hasemi Tomica Racing Team March 802 BMW M12/7 B
1981 Japan Satoru Nakajima i&i Racing Ralt RH6/80
March 812
Honda RA261E B
1982 Japan Satoru Nakajima Team Ikuzawa March 812
March 822
Honda RA262E B
1983 United Kingdom Geoff Lees John Player Special Team Ikuzawa Spirit 201
March 832
Honda RA263E D
1984 Japan Satoru Nakajima Heros Racing March 842 Honda RA264E B
1985 Japan Satoru Nakajima Heros Racing with Nakajima March 85J Honda RA264E
Honda RA265E
1986 Japan Satoru Nakajima Heros Racing with Nakajima March 86J Honda RA266E B
All-Japan Formula 3000 Championship (1987-1995)
1987 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino Hoshino Racing March 87B
Lola T87/50
Honda RA387E B Not awarded Not awarded
1988 Japan Aguri Suzuki Footwork Sports Racing Team March 87B
Reynard 88D
Yamaha OX77 B
1989 Japan Hitoshi Ogawa Auto Beaurex Motor Sport Lola T88/50
Lola T89/50
Mugen MF308 D
1990 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino Cabin Racing Team with Impul Lola T90/50 Mugen MF308 B
1991 Japan Ukyo Katayama Cabin Racing Team with Heros Lola T90/50
Lola T91/50
Cosworth DFV B
1992 Italy Mauro Martini Acom Evolution Team Nova Lola T91/50
Lola T92/50
Mugen MF308 B
1993 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino Nisseki Impul Racing Team Lola T92/50 Cosworth DFV B
1994 Italy Marco Apicella Dome Dome F104 Mugen MF308 D
1995 Japan Toshio Suzuki Hoshino Racing Lola T94/50 Mugen MF308 B
Japanese Championship Formula Nippon (1996-2012)
1996 Germany Ralf Schumacher X-Japan Racing Team LeMans Reynard 96D Mugen MF308 B X-Japan Racing Team LeMans Not awarded
1997 Spain Pedro de la Rosa Shionogi Team Nova Lola T97/51 Mugen MF308 (B) Shionogi Team Nova
1998 Japan Satoshi Motoyama LEMONed Racing Team LeMans Reynard 97D (Mugen MF308) (B) LEMONed Racing Team LeMans
1999 Netherlands Tom Coronel PIAA Nakajima Racing Reynard 99L (Mugen MF308) (B) PIAA Nakajima Racing
2000 Japan Toranosuke Takagi PIAA Nakajima Racing Reynard 2KL (Mugen MF308) (B) PIAA Nakajima Racing
2001 Japan Satoshi Motoyama Team Impul Reynard 99L (Mugen MF308) (B) Team 5Zigen
2002 Republic of Ireland Ralph Firman PIAA Nakajima Racing Reynard 01L (Mugen MF308) (B) PIAA Nakajima Racing
2003 Japan Satoshi Motoyama Team Impul (Lola B3/51) (Mugen MF308) (B) Team Impul
2004 United Kingdom Richard Lyons DoCoMo Team Dandelion Racing (Lola B3/51) (Mugen MF308) (B) Team Impul
2005 Japan Satoshi Motoyama Mobilecast Team Impul
arting Racing Team with Impul
(Lola B3/51) (Mugen MF308) (B) Mobilecast Team Impul
arting Racing Team with Impul
2006 France Benoît Tréluyer Mobilecast Team Impul (Lola B06/51 (FN06)) Toyota RV8J (B) Mobilecast Team Impul
2007 Japan Tsugio Matsuda Mobilecast Team Impul (Lola B06/51 (FN06)) Toyota RV8J (B) Mobilecast Team Impul
2008 Japan Tsugio Matsuda Lawson Team Impul (Lola B06/51 (FN06)) Toyota RV8J (B) Lawson Team Impul Japan Kohei Hirate
2009 France Loïc Duval Nakajima Racing (Swift 017.n (FN09)) Honda HR09E (B) Nakajima Racing Japan Koudai Tsukakoshi
2010 Brazil João Paulo de Oliveira Mobil 1 Team Impul (Swift 017.n (FN09)) Toyota RV8K (B) Mobil 1 Team Impul Japan Naoki Yamamoto
2011 Germany André Lotterer Petronas Team TOM'S (Swift 017.n (FN09)) Toyota RV8K (B) Petronas Team TOM'S Japan Kazuki Nakajima
2012 Japan Kazuki Nakajima Petronas Team TOM'S (Swift 017.n (FN09)) Toyota RV8K (B) Docomo Team Dandelion Racing Not awarded
Japanese Super Formula Championship (2013-present)
2013 Japan Naoki Yamamoto Team Mugen (Swift 017.n (SF13)) Honda HR12E (B) Petronas Team TOM'S Not awarded
2014 Japan Kazuki Nakajima Petronas Team TOM'S (Dallara SF14) Toyota RI4A (B) Petronas Team TOM'S Japan Tomoki Nojiri
2015 Japan Hiroaki Ishiura・INGING (Dallara SF14) Toyota RI4A (B) Petronas Team TOM'S Japan Kamui Kobayashi
2016 Japan Yuji Kunimoto・INGING (Dallara SF14) Toyota RI4A (Y)・INGING Not awarded
2017 Japan Hiroaki Ishiura・INGING (Dallara SF14) Toyota RI4A (Y)・INGING France Pierre Gasly
2018 Japan Naoki Yamamoto Team Mugen (Dallara SF14) Honda HR-417E (Y) Kondō Racing Japan Nobuharu Matsushita
2019 New Zealand Nick Cassidy Vantelin Team TOM'S (Dallara SF19) Toyota Biz-01F (Y) Docomo Team Dandelion Racing Spain Álex Palou
2020 Japan Naoki Yamamoto Docomo Team Dandelion Racing (Dallara SF19) Honda HR-417E (Y) Vantelin Team TOM'S Japan Toshiki Oyu
2021 Japan Tomoki Nojiri Team Mugen (Dallara SF19) Honda HR-417E (Y) carenex Team Impul Japan Hiroki Otsu

* The ( ) indicates the tyre (since 1997), chassis (since 2003), or engine (1998–2005) was a spec part that all competitors used for that season.


Championships by driver

  Indicates active driver.

Driver Total Seasons
Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino 6 1975, 1977, 1978, 1987, 1990, 1993
Japan Satoru Nakajima 5 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986
Japan Satoshi Motoyama 4 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005
Japan Naoki Yamamoto 3 2013, 2018, 2020
Japan Noritake Takahara 2 1974, 1976
Japan Tsugio Matsuda 2007, 2008
Japan Kazuki Nakajima 2012, 2014
Japan Hiroaki Ishiura 2015, 2017
Japan Motoharu Kurosawa 1 1973
Japan Keiji Matsumoto 1979
Japan Masahiro Hasemi 1980
United Kingdom Geoff Lees 1983
Japan Aguri Suzuki 1988
Japan Hitoshi Ogawa 1989
Japan Ukyo Katayama 1991
Italy Mauro Martini 1992
Italy Marco Apicella 1994
Japan Toshio Suzuki 1995
Germany Ralf Schumacher 1996
Spain Pedro de la Rosa 1997
Netherlands Tom Coronel 1999
Japan Toranosuke Takagi 2000
Republic of Ireland Ralph Firman 2002
United Kingdom Richard Lyons 2004
France Benoît Tréluyer 2006
France Loïc Duval 2009
Brazil João Paulo de Oliveira 2010
Germany André Lotterer 2011
Japan Yuji Kunimoto 2016
New Zealand Nick Cassidy 2019
Japan Tomoki Nojiri 2021

List of all Circuits (2013-present)

  • Italic denotes a formerly used circuit.
Number Countries, Circuits Years Total
1 Suzuka International Racing Course 2013–⁠2021 9
Fuji Speedway 2013–⁠2021 9
Twin Ring Motegi 2013–⁠2021 9
Sportsland SUGO 2013–⁠2021 9
5 Autopolis 2013–⁠2015, 2017–⁠2021 8
6 Okayama International Circuit 2015–⁠2020 6


  1. ^ Collins, Sam (26 March 2013). "2014 Super Formula concept revealed". Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  2. ^ "About SUPER FORMULA | SUPER FORMULA Official Website".
  3. ^ Klein, Jamie. "HPD scholar Kyffin Simpson turns down Super Formula chance". Motorsport Network. Retrieved 21 November 2021.
  4. ^ Wood, Elliot. "FRegional Americas champion to get scholarship for Super Formula".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links

This page was last edited on 23 July 2022, at 23:39
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