Takashi Kobayashi is a Japanese racing driver who regularly competes in the Super GT Series since 2010, winning six races in GT300 class and two races in the premium GT500 class since then. Before making a debut in GT racing, Kobayashi was the Japanese Formula 3 National champion in 2010.
Japanese Formula 3 National champion early in a career
Born in November 1987 in Hiroshima, Takashi Kobayashi (who is not related to famous racer Kamui Kobayashi) started his racing career in Formula Challenge Japan in 2006. He was without wins or podiums in his rookie season, then scored one podium in 2007 and two podiums in 2008.
In 2009, Kobayashi made a step up to the Japanese Formula 3 Championship, competing in the National class with #8 HFDP Racing's Dallara-Toyota. With seven podiums on his account, he finished fourth in the points. In 2010, he stayed with the same team and reached the top, winning six races in the National Class and taking the championship title.
Victorious debut in the Super GT Series
In August 2010, Kobayashi was invited to join ARTA (Autobacs Racing Team Aguri) as the third driver in the Pokka GT Summer Special event at Suzuka Circuit, the shortened version of the Suzuka 1000 race and the sixth round of the Super GT Series season.
He partnered Ralph Firman and Yuji Ide in the #8 Honda HSV-010 GT. Kobayashi sensationally took the pole position and a day later contributing to a victory.
Kobayashi's victorious car at 2010 Pokka GT Summer Special at Suzuka
Double racing programme in 2011
The initial success in GT racing guaranteed him a place in the team for the 2011 Super GT season. Kobayashi was sharing the #8 ARTA Honda with Hideki Mutoh. The results were not good and they finished in the 15th place, the last among GT500 crews.
In the same year, Kobayashi raced with Real Racing's Honda in the Formula Nippon. The results were similar as in the GT championship and he finished 14th in the final classification, scoring no points.
In 2012, Kobayashi focused solely on GT racing career. The former champion Ralph Firman joined him as a co-driver in the #8 ARTA Honda HSV-010 GT. There was no improvement in the results and Kobayashi was again the last in the GT500 class.
Takashi Kobayashi has won five times with ARTA in the Super GT Series GT300 class
Four seasons, five wins in GT300 class
For the 2013 Super GT season, Kobayashi was demoted to the GT300 class to drive the #55 Honda CR-Z for ARTA, sharing a car with Shinichi Takagi. It was a good change because Kobayashi finally became a race winner. He won two times, at Sepang and Sugo, finishing seventh in the GT300 standings. In 2013, Kobayashi also made a brief return to open-wheel racing, participating in three Super Formula races with Team Mugen.
One more win for Kobayashi and Takagi in the #55 Honda followed in 2014 and they finished eleventh in the points. In 2015, they were winners at Fuji and finished the season sixth in the points.
In 2016, ARTA switched from Honda to BMW in GT300 class. Kobayashi and Takagi were sharing the #55 BMW M6 GT3, winning a race at Fuji and adding two more podiums to finish fifth in the points.
Takashi Kobayashi is celebrating a victory at Fuji Speedway in 2017
A brief return to GT500 class in 2017
In 2017, Takashi Kobayashi was back in GT500 class, sharing the #8 ARTA Honda NSX-GT with Tomoki Nojiri. They were the fastest qualifiers three times but the highlight of the season was their win at Fuji Speedway. At the end of the season, they were ninth in the points.
In 2018, Kobayashi left ARTA and returned to GT300 class to drive the #18 Toyota 86 MC for Team UpGarage. His co-driver is Yuhki Nakayama. They won the season-opening race at Okayama. They also participated in the inaugural Suzuka 10 Hours race.
Takashi Kobayashi opened the 2018 Super GT season with a victory at Okayama