Hideki Mutoh is a Japanese racing driver who currently competes in the Japanese Super GT Series, in which he was the GT300 class champion with Honda in 2013..
Earlier in a career, he spent three full seasons in the IndyCar Series. He was the Rookie of the Year in the 2008 IndyCar Series season. Before Takuma Sato won the Indianapolis 500 in 2017, Mutoh was the highest-placed Japanese driver in that famous race.
Hideki Mutoh in 2017
Connected with Honda since the beginning of a career
Born in October 1982 in Tokyo, Hideki entered karting competitions at the age 12. He quickly became a part of Honda's Formula Dream Project and his connection with Honda exists still today. In 1998, Mutoh moved to Europe to compete in Formula Vauxhall, finishing 10th in the final classification of 1999 season. The next step was a Formula Ford in 2000 and 2001.
Formula Dream champion in 2003
In 2002, Mutoh returned to Asia, competing in the Asian Formula 2000 Challenge and Japanese Formula Dream. He finished second in his Formula Dream rookie season and then won the championship in 2003. He was dominant that season, winning eight of eleven races.
Mutoh then moved to the Japanese Formula 3, spending two seasons in that competition. He was ninth in his first F3 season and third in 2005, after winning two races. Joao Paulo Lima de Oliveira and Kazuki Nakajima were ahead of him.
Two premier Japanese championships in 2006
In 2006, Mutoh contested in two premier Japanese championships - Formula Nippon and Super GT, driving for Honda-backed Nakajima Racing in both competitions. He was more successful in the GT racing, in a cockpit of the #32 Honda NSX he was sharing with Loic Duval. They won the last race of the season at Fuji Speedway, finishing 11th in the final standings.
In the Formula Nippon, Mutoh was without wins in nine races, driving the #32 Lola-Honda. His best result was 6th place at Suzuka, he was 14th in the final classification at the end of the season.
Runner-up in the 2007 Indy Pro Series season
Mutoh started his American adventure in 2007, entering the Indy Pro Series (today Indy Lights) with a support of the Autobacs Racing Team Aguri (ARTA). He was driving the #55 Dallara-Infiniti for Super Aguri Panther Racing, scoring two wins in a 16-race season.
In September, Mutoh made his IndyCar Series debut with Panther Racing in the last round of the season at Chicagoland Speedway. He was driving the #60 Dallara-Honda, sponsored by the Formula Dream Project.
He finished 8th and set the fastest lap of the race. Such a performance secured him a full-time ride for the 2008 IndyCar Series season.
Mutoh as Andretti's driver in the Japanese round of the 2009 IndyCar Series
Two IndyCar seasons with Andretti Green Racing
Mutoh was driving the #27 Dallara-Honda for Andretti Green Racing, with Danica Patrick, Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti as teammates. He scored his maiden podium at Iowa Corn Indy 250, finishing second behind Dan Wheldon. In total he had seven top 10 results, finishing tenth in the overall standings and taking the Rookie of the Year award. He was seventh at Indianapolis 500, what remained the best result for Japanese driver until Takuma Sato won the race in 2017.
Mutoh stayed in the #27 car throughout the 2009 season, scoring again his best result at Iowa Speedway, where he was third. With seven top 10 results on his account, he was 11th in the final classification. At Indianapolis 500, he was tenth.
A season with Newman/Haas Racing
For the 2010 IndyCar season, Mutoh moved to Newman/Haas Racing to drive the #06 Dallara-Honda. His results were disappointing compared to the previous seasons, with ninth-place in the Indianapolis 500 qualifying as his best result. In the race, he crashed out to finish 28th. At the end of the season, Mutoh was 18th in the points. At the end of the season, a decision was made to return to Japan.
After three IndyCar seasons, Mutoh returned to Japan in 2011
Returning to Japan in 2011
Mutoh returned to Japan in 2011, participating full season in the Super GT Series for the Autobacs Racing Team Aguri. He was driving the #8 Honda HSV-010 GT in the GT500 class, sharing a car with Takashi Kobayashi. With a ninth place as highest finish, they were 15th in the final standings, the last among full-time crews.
In 2011, Mutoh also had three attempts in the Formula Nippon with Real Racing, all three at Twin Ring Motegi. He also recorded one-off appearance in the IndyCar Series, driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports at Motegi round.
Hideki Mutoh was the GT300 class champion in 2013
GT300 champion in 2013 with Honda CR-Z
After disappointing results in the GT500 class, Mutoh was competing in the GT300 class of the 2012 Super GT season, driving the #16 Honda CR-Z for Team Mugen, alongside Daisuke Nakajima. In five races, they scored one podium at Fuji.
Next year, Mutoh raced a full season in the #16 Honda CR-Z, sharing a car with Yuhki Nakayama. They were race winners at Fuji and added four more podiums, winning the championship.
In 2013, Mutoh also spent a season with Docomo Team Dandelion Racing in the Super Formula Championship, but without notable results, not even score the points.
Back to GT500 class in 2014
With championship title in his hands, Mutoh returned to GT500 class in 2014, driving the #100 Honda NSX-GT for Team Kunimitsu, with Takashi Kogure as a co-driver. They scored no wins or podiums, finishing 14th in the points.
In 2014, Mutoh remained with Dandelion Racing in the Super Formula, scoring points in just one race to finish 15th in the final standings.
In 2017, Mutoh drives for Team Mugen
Super GT Series exclusively since 2015
In 2015, Mutoh stopped his open-wheel racing activities, participating since then in Super GT Series only. He reached two podiums in 2015, sharing the #17 Keihin Real Racing Honda with Koudai Tsukakoshi, finishing 8th in the points.
In 2016, Mutoh stayed with Honda but moved to Drago Modulo Honda Racing, driving the #15 car with two co-drivers – Oliver Turvey and Tadasuke Makino. A second-place finish at Chang International Circuit for him and Makino was the best result of the season and he finished 13th in the final standings.
One more change of a team followed in 2017. Mutoh moved to the #16 Honda of Team Mugen, sharing a car with Daisuke Nakajima. At Suzuka 1000 km race, their co-driver was Jenson Button. Mutoh finished the season 18th in the points. In 2018, Mutoh and Nakajima stayed together in the #16 Honda, ending a season 15th in the points. They are co-drivers again in 2019.