Hiroaki Ishiura is a Japanese racing driver who currently competes with Toyota and Lexus in two premier Japanese championships, the Super Formula and Super GT. Most recently, he won the Japanese Super Formula Championship title in 2017.
It was his second Super Formula title after he triumphed in 2015. He's also successful in the Super GT Series, winning the GT300 class title in 2007 and finishing third in the GT500 class in 2012. He won the greatest Japanese GT race, the Suzuka 1000, two times.
Victorious start of a career
Born in April 1981 in Tokyo, Ishiura started a career in the Esso Formula Toyota in 2003. He reached a peakin that competition in 2005, winning two races and finishing third in the points. He was even more successful in the GC-21 Series at Fuji Speedway, winning all five races with Team I Line's Dallara GC21 prototype.
In 2006, Ishiura progressed to Japanese Formula 3. He won one race to finish ninth in the final standings.
Champion in the Super GT rookie season
In August 2006, Ishiura made a debut in the Super GT Series, driving the #55 Ford GT for DHG Racing at Suzuka 1000. He didn't finish the race.
Next year, he joined apr team to drive the #101 Toyota MR-S in the GT300 class. He became a champion in his rookie season, sharing a car with Kazuya Oshima. They were race winners two times, at Okayama and Sepang.
In 2007, he was also driving for Toyota Team Tom's in Formula 3, winning two races and finishing fourth in the points.
Double programme with Toyota since 2008
In 2008, Ishiura progressed to the Formula Nippon in the single-seater racing and made a step to GT500 class in the Super GT Series. In both championships, he was driving for Toyota.
In the Super GT Series, his co-driver in the #25 Lexus SC430 was Takeshi Tsuchiya. Without wins or podiums, they were 15th in the points. In the Formula Nippon, Ishiura was driving the #8 Lola-Toyota for Team LeMans, ending a season 16th in the points.
Hiroaki Ishiura and Kazuya Oshima, 2009 Suzuka 1000 winners
Maiden GT500 victory at 2009 Suzuka 1000
Ishiura had a similar double programme for three more seasons, until 2011, driving for Lexus Team Kraft and Lexus Team SARD in the Super GT Series and for different Toyota teams in Formula Nippon. In the 2009 Super GT season, he clinched his maiden GT500 victory. It was in the Suzuka 1000 race, where he was sharing the #35 Lexus SC430 with Kazuya Oshima. They finished ninth in the points.
The second win came in May 2010 at Fuji, again in the #35 Lexus. He and Oshima finished 6th in the points. In 2011, Ishiura was driving the #39 Lexus for Team SARD, together with Takuto Iguchi. Scoring two podiums, they were 7th in the final standings.
Three podiums in three Formula Nippon seasons
In Formula Nippon, Ishiura scored his maiden podium in the third round of the 2009 championship, driving the #8 Toyota for Team LeMans at Twin Ring Motegi, he finished sixth in the final championship points.
He was on a podium again in October 2010, at Autopolis, again in the #8 Toyota. He ended a season 8th in the points. Ishiura joined Team Kygnus Sunoco for the 2011 Formula Nippon season, driving the #8 Toyota. His best result was second place at Sportsland Sugo and he finished 6th in the championship classification.
Hiroaki Ishiura in 2012
2012 - 2013: Two seasons in the Super GT only
In 2012, Ishiura left Formula Nippon and contested in the Super GT Series only. He was sharing the #39 Lexus SC430 with Juichi Wakisaka. They won the race at Fuji Speedway and finished third in the championship.
In 2013, the same duo in the #39 Lexus scored just one podium, finishing second at Sepang. At the end of the season, they were seventh in the points.
Double programme again since 2014
In 2014, Ishiura returned to double programme with Toyota/Lexus. A new car, the Lexus RC F, was introduced for the GT500 class of the Super GT Series. Ishiura was sharing the #39 car with Oliver Jarvis, scoring no wins or podiums to finish 13th in the points.
In the Super Formula Championship, Ishiura made a return with P.mu/cerumo Inging team, driving the #38 Toyota. He was on a podium two times, finishing fifth at the end of the season.
2015 Super Formula champion
2015 Japanese Super Formula champion
In 2015, Ishiura grabbed his first Super Formula Championship title in the #38 Toyota. The maiden win came in the second round at Okayama and then one more in the fourth round at Twin Ring Motegi. He added three more podiums to win a championship ahead of Kazuki Nakajima.
In the 2015 Super GT Series, he joined Lexus Team Zent Cerumo to drive the #38 Lexus RC F, together with Yuji Tachikawa. They were on a podium three times, taking fourth place in the GT500 standings.
Suzuka 1000 victory in 2016
For 2016, Ishiura didn't change teams. He and Yuji Tachikawa continued to drive the #38 Lexus RC F, scoring one victory. It was a win in the greatest Japanese race, the Suzuka 1000. At the end of the season, they were sixth in the points.
Ishiura took one victory in the Super Formula too. He was a race winner at Okayama International Circuit. Later in the season, he added four more podiums to finish fifth in the points.
2017 Super Formula champion in a shortened season
In 2017, Ishiura was driving the #2 Toyota in the Super Formula Championship, as his teammate and reigning champion Yuji Kunimoto was in the #1 car. In seven races, Ishiura was a race winner once, at Fuji Speedway. He came to season's finale at Suzuka Circuit as a championship leader, just half a point ahead of French rookie Pierre Gasly. Due to an incoming typhoon, the event was canceled and Ishiura was declared a champion.
In the Super GT Series, he and Yuji Tachikawa were teammates in the new #38 Lexus LC500. They won the second round at Fuji and finished fourth in the championship points.
In 2018, Ishiura was again among the front-runners in the Super Formula, entering the season's finale as one of three championship contenders. However, he scored no points in that race and finished third in the final standings. In the 2018 Super GT season, he and Yuji Tachikawa finished in the fourth place again in the #38 Lexus.
2017 Japanese Super Formula Champion
Few attempts at Nürburgring Nordschleife
Ishiura was rarely racing outside Japanese championships. In 2011, he made a debut with Gazoo Racing at Nürburgring24 Hours, driving a Lexus LF-A and finishing fourth in the SP8 class.
In 2015, he participated in one race of the VLN Langstreckenmeisterschaft Nürburgring in a Lexus LF-A Code X and then came with the same car to 24-hour race. He, Masahiko Kageyama, Kazuya Oshima and Takuto Iguchi finished 14th overall and the winners in the SP-Pro class.