Juichi Wakisaka is a former Japanese racing driver who has four national championship titles on his account. He was most successful in sports car racing, winning three titles in the Japanese GT Championship/Super GT Series in 2002, 2006 and 2009. Earlier in a career, he was the Japanese Formula 3 champion in 1996.
Formula 3 champion in 1996, switching to Formula Nippon in 1997
Born in July 1972 in Nara on the Japanese largest island Honshu, Juichi Wakisaka spent his teenage years in karting competitions, then switching to formula racing in 1995. He raced in the Japanese Formula 3 Championship with Toda Racing, finishing sixth in the points. In 1996, he won four races with Dome's Dallara-Honda and captured the F3 championship title.
In 1997, Wakisaka made a step up into the Formula Nippon, driving the #8 Dome-Mugen for Team Anabuki Dome. Scoring no wins or podiums, he finished 14th in the points.
Double racing programme since 1998
In the 1998 Formula Nippon season, Wakisaka joined Autobacs Racing Team Aguri to drive the #56 Lola-Mugen. He won one race, at Twin Ring Motegi, finishing third in the points, behind Satoshi Motoyama and Masami Kageyama. In the same year, Wakisaka made a debut in the Japanese GT Championship with Dome Racing, driving the #18 Honda NSX in two championship races and All-Star non-championship event.
In 1999, he participated full seasons both in the Formula Nippon and GT Championship with the same team. He scored three Formula Nippon podiums with ARTA to finish seventh in the points. In the GT Championship, he and Katsutomo Kaneishi won the season-opening race at Suzuka in the #18 Honda NSX. It remained their only victory and they finished fourth in the points.
Juichi won Suzuka 1000 in 2000 in the #18 Honda NSX
Victory at Suzuka 1000 in 2000
In 2000, Wakisaka continued with a double programme. In GT Championship, he won the race at Fuji and finished sixth in the points, sharing the #18 Honda NSX again with Katsutomo Kaneishi. The highlight of the season was a victory at Suzuka 1000 non-championship race, together with Kaneishi and Daisuke Ito in the #18 Honda.
In Formula Nippon, Wakisaka scored one podium in 2000, still driving for ARTA, to finish seventh in the points.
Joining Toyota Team LeMans in 2001
In 2001, Wakisaka became a Toyota driver in the GT Championship, joining Team LeMans to drive the #6 Toyota Supra. His partner was Hideki Noda.
They won a race at Fuji and finished seventh in the points. In Formula Nippon, Wakisaka stayed with ARTA, scoring a victory at Fuji and finishing fifth in the points.
Akira Iida and Juichi Wakisaka were 2002 Japanese GT champions
Championship title and Suzuka 1000 victory in 2002
In 2002, Wakisaka was sharing the #6 Toyota Supra with Akira Iida and they won the GT championship title in GT500 class. They were race winners just once, at Sugo, taking a title with a one-point advantage over closest rivals. They also won non-championship Suzuka 1000 race in which the third driver in the #6 Toyota was Juichi's brother Shigekazu Wakisaka.
Wakisaka was also successful in 2002 Formula Nippon season, winning one race in the #55 ARTA Reynard-Mugen. He was third in the championship points.
Two more seasons of a double programme
As a defending GT champion, Wakisaka was driving the #1 Toyota Supra in 2003, sharing a car with Akira Iida. They won two races, at Okayama and Sugo, but finished second in the points, losing a title to Satoshi Motoyama and Michael Krumm. In 2003 Formula Nippon season, Wakisaka was driving Lola-Mugen for Team 22, scoring two wins and finishing third in the points.
In 2004, Wakisaka was again among the front-runners in both championships. In GT races, he scored three podiums in the #6 Team LeMans Toyota Supra, finishing third in the points. In Formula Nippon, he also raced for Team LeMans, scoring four podiums and finishing fifth in the points.
Participating in sports car competitions only since 2005
In 2005, Wakisaka left Formula Nippon and concentrated his career to sports car races only. The GT Championship was renamed to Super GT Series. Wakisaka stayed in the #6 Toyota Supra of Team LeMans, still sharing a car with Akira Iida. After scoring two podiums, they were sixth in the points.
In April 2005, Wakisaka had a first international outing, driving the #5 Dome S101 LMP1 prototype for Jim Gainer International at Spa 1000 km race, the part of the Le Mans Series. Sharing a car with Ryo Michigami and Seiji Ara, he finished in fourth place.
Juichi Ishikara and Andre Lotterer in 2006
2006 Super GT champion in a Lexus SC430
For the 2006 Super GT season, Wakisaka joined Toyota Team Tom's to drive the new #36 Lexus SC430 alongside Andre Lotterer. They won the season-opening race at Suzuka and later added two podiums, winning the title with a one-point advantage over the second-placed crew.
In 2007, Wakisaka was driving the #1 car again, finishing just sixth in the points. He and Andre Lotterer scored one victory in a Lexus SC430 in the greatest of all races, the Suzuka 1000. The third driver was Oliver Jarvis. In 2008, Wakisaka/Lotterer scored no wins, just four podiums, to finish third in the points.
Juichi Wakisaka and Andre Lotterer captured two championship titles together
One more championship title for Wakisaka/Lotterer in 2009
In 2009, Juichi Wakisaka and Andre Lotterer reached the top again. They were the champions after winning one race (Autopolis) and adding four podiums in the #36 Lexus SC430.
In 2010, Wakisaka was driving the #1 car for the third time in a career. He and Andre Lotterer won the season's finale at Twin Ring Motegi and finished second in the points, five points behind champions. It was Juichi's last season with Andre Lotterer.
Retiring from racing at the end of 2015
For the 2011 Super GT season, Juichi joined Lexus Team Kraft to drive the #35 Lexus SC430 alongside Andre Couto. Without wins or podiums, they finished just 14th in the points. One more change of a team followed in 2012 when Wakisaka moved to Lexus Team SARD. He and Hiroaki Ishiura won one race in the #39 Lexus SC430 to finish third in the points. In 2013, Wakisaka and Ishiura stayed together in the #39 Lexus SC430, scoring no wins and finishing 8th in the points.
One more and the final change of the team followed in 2014 when Wakisaka joined Lexus Team WedsSport Bandoh. Sharing the #19 Lexus RC F with Yuhi Sekiguchi, he ended the season 15th in the points. The next season in the #19 car wasn't much better as he finished 11th in the points.
At the end of 2015, Juichi Wakisaka decided to retire from racing, accepting a duty of a team director of Lexus Team LeMans Wako's. He also works as Toyota Gazoo Racing ambassador.
After retiring from racing, Wakisaka continued to work for Lexus/Toyota