- July 05, 1975
- Super Gt Japan
- Lexus Team Zent Cerumo
Yuji Tachikawa is a Japanese racing driver and one of the most successful drivers in the history of Japanese GT racing. Tachikawa won Japanese GT Championship/Super GT Series three times, in 2001, 2005 and 2013, becoming one of only five drivers with three or more titles.
He's in the second place on the all-time list with 18 victories in GT500 class of the Japanese GT Championship/Super GT Series and the record-holder with 23 pole positions.
Tachikawa currently competes in the Japanese Super GT Series with Lexus Team Cerumo, which he joined back in 1999. Besides racing in GT competitions, Tachikawa was earlier in a career also active in the Formula Nippon between 1997 and 2009, finishing best in the third place in 2001.
Starting a career in Formula Renault and Formula 3
Born in July 1975 in Kanagawa, Yuji Tachikawa started his racing career in 1994 in France, competing in the Formula Renault Campus. He returned to Japan in 1995, entering the Japanese Formula 3 with Morisawa Racing.
In 1996, Tachikawa made just a couple of starts in Formula 3 and made a debut in Japanese GT Championship with Bros Factory, driving a Nissan 300ZX in three races.
Formula 3 vice-champion in 1997
In 1997, Tachikawa raced again full season in the Formula 3, scoring six podiums, Including one victory, to finish second in the points, behind Tom Coronel. In the same year, Yuji made one JGTC start with Team LeMans Nissan 300ZX and made a debut in Formula Nippon, driving a Reynard-Mugen for Team LeMans in two races.
In 1998, Tachikawa was combining Formula Nippon and Japanese Touring Car Championship. In Formula Nippon, he was driving the #18 Reynard-Mugen for Team TMS, finishing 13th in final points. In the JTCC, he was driving the #38 Toyota Chaser for Team Cerumo, scoring five podiums to finish third in the points.
A double programme with Team Cerumo since 1999
In 1999, Tachikawa returned full time to the Japanese GT Championship, joining Team Cerumo to drive the #38 Toyota Supra. His co-driver was Hironori Takeuchi. They were on a podium once, finishing 14th in the points. In Formula Nippon, he was driving the #11 Reynard-Mugen for Team Cerumo, finishing 13th in the points.
In 2000, Tachikawa had a double programme again with Team Cerumo, finishing ninth in Formula Nippon and fourth in GT Championship. He scored maiden JGTC victory in September at Aida Circuit, sharing a car with Hironori Takeuchi.
First JGTC title in 2001
In 2001, Tachikawa and Takeuchi stayed together in the #38 Toyota Supra and captured their first JGTC title. They scored no wins but reached podium three times, what was good enough for the championship title with a two-point advantage over the closest rivals.
In Formula Nippon, Tachikawa changed a team for 2001 and joined Kondo Racing to drive the #3 Reynard-Mugen. In ten races, he was on a podium four times, finishing third in the championship.
The second championship title in 2005
As a reigning JGTC champion, Tachikawa was driving the #1 Toyota Supra in 2002, again with Hironori Takeuchi. They scored two wins but finished just third in the points. Tachikawa and Takeuchi were partners again in 2003 in the #38 Toyota Supra, finishing ninth in the points with two podiums.
In 2004, Seiji Ara became Yuji's teammate in the #38 Toyota Supra. They were race winners once and finished fifth in the points. One more change of a co-driver followed in 2005, the first season of the Super GT Series when Yuji was sharing the #38 Toyota Supra with Toranosuke Takagi. They won three races to take the championship title in the inaugural season of the Super GT Series.
Racing in Formula Nippon until 2009
After finishing third in Formula Nippon in 2001, what remains his career-best result, Tachikawa stayed in the championship until 2009 but he never repeated good results. In 2002, he spent half a season with Team Cerumo, then returned to Kondo Racing in 2003 and 2004.
He skipped 2005 Formula Nippon season and then rejoined Team Cerumo in 2006, staying with the team until 2009. In that period, he scored no wins and just one podium, finishing best in the seventh place in 2008.
Switching to Lexus in 2006, vice-champion two times
After winning Super GT title in 2005, Tachikawa was driving the #1 car again in 2006, sharing it with Toranosuke Takagi. The team switched from Toyota Supra to Lexus SC430. They won one race and finished fifth in the points.
In the following years, Tachikawa was regularly among the front-runners, finishing as Super GT vice-champion two times, in 2008 and 2012. In 2008, his partner was Richard Lyons. In 2012, he was sharing the #38 Lexus with Kohei Hirate.
Third championship title in 2013
In 2013, Yuji Tachikawa and Kohei Hirate were partners again in the #38 Lexus SC430. They won just one race, at Fuji Speedway, but it was good enough to take Yuji's third and Kohei's first championship title.
In 2014, Tachikawa competed for the third time in the #1 car. His new car was a Lexus RC F. Sharing a car with Kohei Hirate, he won one race to finish 8th in the points.
The second victory at Suzuka 1000 in 2016
Hiroaki Ishiura became Yuji's new co-driver in 2015. They finished fourth in the championship in their first year together, not scoring wins. Next year, their only victory was in the 46th edition of Suzuka 1000, the greatest Japanese endurance race. Previously in a career, Tachikawa won at Suzuka 1000 in 2001 when it was a non-championship race.
In 2017, Tachikawa and Ishiura won at Fuji and finished fourth in the championship points, using a new Lexus LC500. In 2018, two former champions stayed together in the #38 Lexus, scoring two podiums to finish fourth in the points.
One attempt at Le Mans 24 Hours
Parallel to his rich and successful sports car racing career in Japan, Tachikawa recorded just one notable appearance abroad. In 2008, he joined Dome Racing Team to drive the #11 Dome S102-Judd at 24 Hours of Le Mans.