Giuliano Alesi, son of former Formula 1 star Jean, will race full-time for TOM’S in Super Formula in 2022 after winning a race as a substitute driver for the team this year.
Despite having to crowdfund to complete his season in Super Formula Lights, Alesi had a strong first season in Japan as he was second in SF’s support series with TOM’S and only lost the title on dropped scores after colliding with rival Teppei Natori.
He also got called up to SF by TOM’S for five of the seven rounds to stand in for the absent Kazuki Nakajima, and came 11th in the standings with a surprise win from pole at a wet Autopolis. Alesi will now replace the retiring Nakajima for 2022.
The former Formula 2 racer also landed a Super GT300 seat after arriving in Japan, but had a fruitless season alongside Sean Walkinshaw in a Toyota Team Thailand-run Lexus. He will however move up to the series’ top GT500 class next year with TOM’S, taking the place of Yuhi Sekiguchi in the #36 car co-driven by Sho Tsuboi.
A move into the World Endurance Championship means Ryo Hirakawa will depart his ride in the team’s #37 car, and former Renault Formula 1 junior Sacha Fenestraz will take his place to partner Ritomo Miyata.
Fenestraz had been widely expected to move into Nakajima’s SF seat, but instead will now spend a third season at Kondo Racing.
TOM’S has also announced it will take on another SF Lights driver for sportscars, with Shunsuke Kohno joining its three-driver line-up in the Super Taikyu series in a GT4-spec GT86 car.
Kohno won twice and came third in the Super GT300 standings this year with the LM Corsa team, and driving for the single-car RS Fine team he was sixth in SF Lights