In the world of motorsports, there is always speculation and excitement surrounding the idea of drivers venturing beyond their home country to compete in international championships. And recently, the topic of Japanese racing driver Tomoki Nojiri racing abroad has sparked a frenzy among fans. Will he take on new challenges in foreign categories? Or will he remain committed to racing in Japan’s top two championships, Super Formula and SUPER GT?
Nojiri, who finished second in this year’s Super Formula championship, has undoubtedly established himself as one of Japan’s top racing talents. His rivals, Ritomo Miyata and Liam Lawson, have gained recognition on the international stage, raising the question of whether Nojiri should explore opportunities outside of Japan. Additionally, Ryo Hirakawa’s recent Formula 1 testing deal has further fueled the discussion.
Looking back at Nojiri’s racing history, it becomes apparent that he has limited experience racing outside of Japan. Apart from SUPER GT’s annual trip to Thailand’s Buriram circuit, his last international race was back in 2011 when he participated in a Formula BMW Pacific race in Macau. However, during his teenage years, Nojiri spent a season in Italy with karting manufacturer Tony Kart, providing him with a taste of international competition.
When asked about the prospect of racing abroad again, Nojiri emphasized the importance of finding a foreign category that truly captures his interest. He voiced his doubts about whether competing overseas would bring him more satisfaction than racing in Super Formula and SUPER GT, which he finds highly competitive and attractive. Nojiri mentioned that some fans believe he should race overseas, but he remains discerning and seeks a category that truly ignites his passion.
While Formula 1 undoubtedly stands out on the international stage and garners global support from fans, Nojiri doesn’t perceive a significant difference in the level of competition compared to Japanese championships. Drawing a comparison with IndyCar, often seen as an amazing category from a Japanese perspective, Nojiri highlights that Super Formula features higher cornering speeds, making the impression of racing in IndyCar somewhat similar to staying in Japan. This observation underscores a discrepancy between fan perceptions and how drivers assess different racing categories.
As Nojiri continues his journey in Super Formula next season, aiming to reclaim the championship title, he will also lead Honda’s pursuit of victory in the all-new Civic Type R-GT in SUPER GT. Despite these commitments, Nojiri admits that enthusiasts hoping for him to race full-time outside of Japan might end up disappointed. He acknowledges the high expectations surrounding him and his career decisions, expressing an ongoing desire to progress to higher levels step by step. Nevertheless, he awaits the emergence of new challenges before considering a potential shift to international racing.
At this stage, Nojiri remains uncertain about which specific category would truly appeal to him. He openly invites suggestions and insights from others to help him identify the most suitable path for his racing career. Only time will tell if Nojiri will venture abroad or if he will continue to captivate Japanese motorsport enthusiasts with his talent and dedication.
In conclusion, the idea of Tomoki Nojiri racing outside of Japan has generated considerable buzz in the motorsports world. As fans eagerly anticipate his next move, Nojiri remains cautious and seeks a foreign category that can truly capture his interest. While acknowledging the international appeal of Formula 1, Nojiri emphasizes the competitiveness and allure of Super Formula and SUPER GT. Will Nojiri take on the challenge of international racing, or will he continue to thrive within the Japanese motorsport scene? Only time will reveal the path that awaits this talented Japanese racing driver.