Yuji Ide is a Japanese racing driver who recorded four starts in the Formula 1 World Championship in 2006, driving for Super Aguri. He lost an FIA Super Licence after four rounds and he was not allowed to race anymore in Formula One.
Before and after his F1 attempt, Ide was active in the Formula Nippon, finishing third in the points in 2004 and as a vice-champion in 2005. He was also a regular competitor in the Japanese GT Championship (now Super GT Series), finishing best in the second place in his debut season in 1999. Most recently, Ide competed in the 2017 Super GT Series with EIcars Bentley team.
Formula Dream champion early in a career
Born in January 1975 in Saitama, Yuji Ide started his racing career in karting competitions in 1990. He was racing go-karts until 1994 when he entered the Japanese Formula 3 Championship.
He stayed in Formula 3 until 1998, switching to Formula Dream in 1999 and taking the championship title with 5Zigen ARTA's Dome FD99-Mugen.
Losing a 1999 GT300 title by just one point
Yuji Ide made his GT racing debut in 1996, participating in one round of the All-Japan GT Championship but he didn't finish the race at Sendai in Hoshino Racing's Nissan Silvia S14.
In 1999, he joined Nismo for his first full season in the GT Championship. Driving the #15 Nissan Silvia S15 together with Takeshi Tsuchiya, he was a race winner three times in GT300 class. At the end of the season, Ide and Tsuchiya lost a championship title by just one point to Morio Nitta.
Formula 3 vice-champion in 2000
In 2000, Ide returned to Formula 3, driving a Dallara-Honda for Mugen Dome Project. He was a race winner two times, finishing second in the points behind French driver Sebastien Philippe.
In GT championship, he participated in just one race, joining Michael Krumm in the #2 Nissan Skyline GT-R at Motegi and finishing sixth in GT500 class.
Double programme in 2001
In 2001, Ide continued to race in Formula 3 with Three Bond Racing's Dallara-Nissan but also returned to Japanese GT Championship, driving a Nissan Silvia for Hasemi Motorsports. In Formula 3 standings, he finished fifth with one podium on his account.
In the GT championship, Ide was sharing the #3 Nissan Silvia S15 with Masataka Yanagida, scoring three podiums and finishing fourth in the points.
2002 – a season in Europe
In 2002, Yuji Ide moved to Europe to competed in the French Formula 3 Championship as a result of a deal between ARTA and Signature Plus team. He was driving a Dallara-Renault, scoring one victory and three podiums to finish seventh in the points.
He also participated in several non-championship F3 races, finishing best in the sixth place in the F3 European Cup.
2003 - returning to a double programme in Japan
In 2003, Ide returned to Japan, accepting again a double programme. He was driving a Lola-Honda for Racing Team Cerumo in Formula Nippon and Nissan Skyline GT-R for Team Impul in the All-Japan GT Championship.
In his Formula Nippon rookie season, Ide scored three podiums to finish seventh in the points. In GT championship, he was also seventh after scoring two wins with #12 Nissan. He was sharing a car with Benoit Treluyer.
Formula Nippon vice-champion in 2005
In 2004, Ide continued with a double programme, driving for Team Impul in both competitions. He and Benoit Treluyer finished 11th in the GT500 standings with Nissan Fairlady Z. In Formula Nippon, Ide scored his maiden victory at Twin Ring Motegi, finishing third in the championship, behind Richard Lyons and Andre Lotterer.
In the 2005 Formula Nippon season, Ide was a race winner two times, at Suzuka and Mine Circuit, finishing second in the points behind Satoshi Motoyama. In the GT championship, he and Benoit Treluyer were partners for the third season in a row, finishing again 11th in the points.
Short stint in Formula One with Super Aguri
In 2006, Yuji Ide reached Formula One World Championship grid as a member of Super Aguri's all-Japanese line-up, together with Takuma Sato. His car was the #23 Super Aguri SA05-Honda.
He made a debut at Bahrain Grand Prix, being the slowest qualifier and retiring after 35 laps with a broken engine. The next race was the Malaysian Grand Prix. This time, his race lasted for 33 laps. The reason for retirement was technical failure again.
Losing an FIA Super Licence because of too many incidents
Although he was one the oldest F1 rookies, Yuji Ide entered Formula One with lack of experience in testing and driving F1-spec cars. It resulted in many misjudgments and incidents. At Australian Grand Prix, Ide blocked Rubens Barrichello during qualifying. In the race, Ide finished in 13th place, the last among driver who reached the finish line.
In his fourth Grand Prix race, at Imola's San Marino Grand Prix, Ide caused the first-lap accident with Christijan Albers. He was reprimanded by the stewards. For the next round, Super Aguri replaced Yuji ide with Franck Montagny and then a decision had been made by FIA to revoke Ide's F1 Super Licence.
Returning to Japanese championships
After a losing a place in Formula One, Yuji Ide returned to Formula Nippon, joining Dandelion Racing in six rounds. He also joined Nismo at Suzuka 1000 Kilometers GT race.
In 2007, Ide spent a full season with ARTA (Autobacs Racing Team Aguri) in Formula Nippon, scoring one podium to finish 13th in the points. In GT racing, he reached the podium (2nd place) at Suzuka 1000 Kilometers, driving the #8 ARTA Honda NSX together with Daisuke Ito and Ralph Firman.
A break in a career after 2010
Yuji ide stayed in Japanese championships for three more years, until the end of 2010. In that period, he spent two seasons in Formula Nippon and three seasons in the Super GT Series. His results in Formula Nippon weren't good and he finished in points just three times in two seasons.
In the Super GT Series, he was slightly better. Driving the #100 Honda NSX for Team Kunimitsu, Ide and Shinya Hosokawa scored one podium to finish 11th in the points of 2008 season. In 2009, the same pair in the #100 car scored no wins or podiums and Ide finished 13th in the points.
In 2010, Ide was driving the #8 Honda HSV-010 GT for ARTA, sharing a car with Ralph Firman. Takashi Kobayashi joined them at Suzuka 1000 Kilometers and they won a race. It was Ide's greatest win in his GT career. At the end of the season, he made a break of racing.
Returning to Super GT in 2013, 2015 and 2017
Yuji Ide returned to racing in 2013, joining Bonds Racing in one Super GT round. He joined Igor Sushko in the #7 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 at Fuji 500 Kilometers, finishing fifth in GT300 class.
The next return followed in 2015 when Yuji Ide joined Team Up Garage with Bandoh to drive the #18 Toyota 86 MC in GT300 class. He was a co-driver to Yuhki Nakayama in six races, finishing best in the ninth place at Autopolis.
Ide was out of Japanese premier GT competition in 2016 and then he returned one more time in 2017, joining EIcar Bentley TTO to drive the #117 Bentley Continental GT3. His partner was Ryohei Sakaguchi. In five race, they scored no points.