Home News Toyota promotes Japanese F4 champion Hibiki Taira to SF Lights

Toyota promotes Japanese F4 champion Hibiki Taira to SF Lights

by Ida Wood

Photo: Japanese F4

Toyota juniors Kazuto Kotaka and reigning Japanese Formula 4 champion Hibiki Taira will race for TOM’S in Super Formula Lights this year.

Kotaka made his SF Lights debut in 2018, picked up five podiums in a part-time campaign in 2019 and then teamed up with TOM’S last year for his first full season and claimed his first win on the way to third in the points.

He’s also been racing in Super GT for the past two seasons, and in 2019 represented Japan in the Motorsport Games F4 Cup as well as competing in the Toyota Racing Series.

From 2015 to ’18 the 21-year-old raced in Japanese F4 and won five races in three seasons.

Taira is one year younger and has spent the last two years in Japanese F4 after previously racing in F4 South East Asia.

In 2020 he won 10 races out of 12 to become champion, and then joined TOM’S for post-season SF Lights testing at Fuji Speedway in late December.

The pair are expected to be joined by ex-Formula 2 racer Giuliano Alesi, son of Formula 1 race-winner Jean, who has left the Ferrari Driver Academy and is relocating his career to Europe.

While TOM’S has told Formula Scout no contract has yet been signed, Alesi’s father has said a deal has already been done for the 21-year-old Frenchman to join the team in SF Lights.

The season finale at Okayama has already been postponed by a week, with the coronavirus pandemic still present in Japan and making sport events – particularly ones involving international competitors – increasingly difficult to organise.