Home Featured Hibiki Taira keeps Super Formula seat at Team Impul for a second race

Hibiki Taira keeps Super Formula seat at Team Impul for a second race

by Ida Wood

Photo: Team Impul

Team Impul has decided to keep Hibiki Taira in its Super Formula line-up for round four of the season at Fuji Speedway later this month.

There were three different drivers in the team’s #19 car through the first three rounds, with reigning Formula 2 champion Theo Pourchaire initially signed for the full season. After just one race, which he finished 18th in, Pourchaire was poached by McLaren’s IndyCar squad but has already been dropped from that ride despite signing for the rest of the IndyCar season.

Impul called upon Ben Barnicoat to replace Pourchaire for round two, then Taira was chosen for round three at Sportsland SUGO last month. He qualified 19th, and went on to finish 17th. The 24-year-old has now been given a second outing, which he will be able to prepare for by driving in SF’s official in-season test at Fuji on July 7/8.

Taira started his single-seater career in Formula 4, making the podium in the South East Asian and Japanese championships in 2018 and ’19. Toyota signed him as a junior driver in 2020, and he romped to the Japanese F4 title with 10 wins from 12 races.

The next step was was the Formula 3-level Super Formula Lights series in Japan, where he spent three seasons. As a rookie he made the podium four times and came fifth in the points, in his second season he did not improve his championship position but did win two races and take four other podiums, then was 2023 championship runner-up with three wins, eight other podiums and four poles.

Taira has also been racing in Super GT’s GT300 class since 2021. He claimed his first podium there in 2022, then was championship runner-up last season with three second places and a pole.

Despite coming second in SF’s primary feeder series and in the second tier of Super GT competition, Taira initially failed to secure a step up the Japanese motorsport ladder for 2024. He has continued in Super GT300, and is currently points leader.

Impul still needs a driver for the final three SF rounds, which feature five races due to two of the events being double-headers.