Nobuteru Taniguchi, nicknamed NOB (No One Better), is a Japanese racing driver mostly known as the winner of the Japanese D1 Grand Prix drift championship in 2001, a three-time champion in GT300 class of the Super GT Series and seven-time class champion in the Super Taikyu Series.
Most recently, Taniguchi won a Super GT title in 2017, driving a Mercedes-AMG GT3 for Goodsmile Racing. Previously, he was a GT champion in 2011 and 2014 with BMW Z4 GT3.
Born in May 1971, Nobuteru started his racing career in minibikes but he soon switched to car racing, becoming a drifter. In 1999, the HKS company became his main sponsor and supported him in drift competitions in which he was driving a Nissan Silvia S15.
In 2001, Nobuteru became a champion in the inaugural D1 Grand Prix drift championship, winning two of five championship rounds. In the same year, he was also Class N champion in the Super Taikyu Series, the main Japanese touring car endurance series, driving a Toyota Altezza.
Taniguchi was a regular D1 Grand Prix contestant until 2005, driving a Nissan Silvia S15 until 2004 and switching to Toyota Altezza SXE-10 in 2005. He left the series at the end of 2005, returning in one event in 2008 and three events in 2012.
In the meantime, he served as a promotor of drifting in the US, performing drift exhibitions during Formula Drift events.
Parallel to his drift racing commitments, Taniguchi made a debut in the Japanese GT Championship in 2002, driving the #7 Mazda RX-7 for RE Amemiya team. He and Haruhiko Matsumoto won a race at Sepang and Taniguchi finished 13th in the final standings of GT300 class.
He spent one more season in a Mazda, scoring one podium to finish ninth in the points. His co-driver in 2003 was Takashi Ooi.
In 2004, Taniguchi joined Racing Project Bandoh in the Japanese GT Championship, driving the #19 Toyota Celica together with Takayuki Aoki. They won a race at Sportsland Sugo, finishing fifth in GT300 classification at the end of the year.
In 2005, when the championship has been renamed to Super GT Series, Taniguchi was sharing the #19 Toyota Celica with Hiroki Katoh, scoring two podiums to finish seventh in the points. That year, Taniguchi captured his second Super Taikyu title, winning the ST-1 class.
For the 2006 GT season, Taniguchi joined Direxiv Motorsports to drive a Japanese Vemac RD320R prototype race car in GT300 class. His new co-driver in the #27 car was Shogo Mitsuyama and they won a race at Okayama Circuit. Later in the season, they scored two more podiums.
In the last three rounds, the #61 car was run by R&D Sport. They finished third in the points of GT300 class.
Another change occurred in 2007 when Taniguchi joined Team Taisan to drive the #26 Porsche 996 GT3 RS. During the season, he had three co-drivers (Shinichi Yamaji, Kazuyuki Nishizawa and Dominik Farnbacher). He was most successful when sharing a car with Farnbacher, winning races at Motegi and Fuji to finish the season sixth in the points.
Next year, Taniguchi scored one victory in the #26 Porsche, winning the season-closing race at Fuji Speedway. He ended a season third in the points. He shared a car in eight races with Shinichi Yamaji but victory came when his co-driver was Dominik Farnbacher.
For the 2009 Super GT season, Taniguchi rejoined RE Amemiya to drive the #7 Mazda RX-7. Together with Ryo Orime, he was on a podium six times, losing a GT300 title by just three points.
In 2010, Taniguchi and Orime stayed together in the #7 Mazda, winning two races and finishing third in the championship points.
While racing with different teams in the Super GT Series, Taniguchi managed to win five consecutive titles in the Super Taikyu Series with Petronas Syntium Team. The first title came in 2008 in ST-1 class at the wheel of the #28 BMW Z4 M Coupe.
In 2009, he defended a title in the #1 BMW Z4 M Coupe and then repeated the same in 2010 and 2011. The fifth consecutive title came in 2012 in GT3 class. This time, the victorious car was the #1 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3.
While dominating in the Super Taikyu Series, Taniguchi was also among the front-runners in the Super GT Series but didn't reach the top yet. Finally, in 2011, he captured his maiden Super GT Series title in GT300 class.
He did that in the #4 BMW Z4 GT3, driving for Goodsmile Racing & Studie with Team Ukyo. His victorious partner was Taku Bamba. They won three races during the season.
In 2012, as a defending champion, Taniguchi was driving the #0 BMW Z4 GT3, sharing a car with Tatsuya Kataoka. They won one race, finishing fifth in the points. Next year, Taniguchi and Kataoka won two races to finish third in the points.
In 2014, their third season together, Taniguchi and Kataoka clinched the GT300 title in the #4 BMW Z4 GT3, winning two races over the season and adding two more podiums.
As a defending champion, Taniguchi was driving the 'Zero' car again in 2015 but the team switched from BMW to Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3. Tatsuya Kataoka stayed with him and they were just 11th in the points, scoring one podium. In 2016, a new Mercedes-AMG GT3 came for Taniguchi and Kataoka. They reached a podium two times, ending a season in the 7th place.
And then, in 2017, Taniguchi was a champion again. He and Kataoka won the season-opening race at Okayama and later added three more podiums to capture their second joint championship victory. In 2017, Taniguchi also visited Europe to participate at Spa 24 Hours. He was sharing the #00 Mercedes with Tatsuya Kataoka and Kamui Kobayashi, not finishing the race.
In 2018, Taniguchi and Kataoka stayed together in a Mercedes, scoring three podiums and finishing fourth in the points. One more Super GT season in a Mercedes follows in 2019.
Photos: Nobuteru Taniguchi,