Morio Nitta is a Japanese racing driver who achieved the most in the sports car racing. He was the Japanese GT champion three times in GT300 class (1996, 1999 and 2002), finishing six more times among the top 3 drivers.
Competing in the Japanese Touring Car Championship until 1994
Born in January 1967 in Tokyo, Morio Nitta started his racing career in the late 1980s, driving a Toyota Corolla in touring car competitions and Reynard-Toyota in the Japanese Formula 3 Championship.
Until 1994, his main competition was the Japanese Touring Car Championship, mostly with Toyota Corolla. His most successful season was 1990 when he scored three wins and finished fifth in the points, sharing the #25 Toyota Corolla Levin with Keiichi Suzuki. Next year, he won two races and then one race in 1992. In 1993, he was without wins but finished fifth in the points. Nitta recorded two more JTCC seasons without points in 1994 and 1996.
Seven participations at Spa 24 Hours between 1989 and 1995
While racing with Toyota in Japan, Nitta became a regular competitor at Spa 24 Hours, what was the main touring car endurance race in that time. He made a debut at Spa in 1989, finishing 12th in the #34 Toyota Corolla GT he was sharing with Kaori Okamoto and Hideshi Matsuda. It remained his best result at Spa.
Nitta returned to Spa in a Toyota Corolla in the following two years. In 1992 and 1993, his race car was a Toyota MR-2. In 1994, Nitta competed in a Toyota Carina E and then, in 1995, he came to Spa in a Toyota Celica, finishing in 13th place.
1996 - Japanese GT champion as a rookie
Morio Nitta made his debut in the All-Japan GT Championship in 1994, joining Oosuka Racing in one race with Porsche 911 Carrera RS. In 1996, Nitta entered his first full season of GT championship, sharing the #26 Team Taisan Jr Porsche 964 Carrera RSR with his old partner from touring car days Keiichi Suzuki.
They were GT300 class winners three times (Suzuka, Sugo, Mine) and Nitta took his first championship title in a rookie season.
1997 GT300 vice-champion with Porsche
In 1997, Nitta also returned to Spa 24 Hours, driving a Toyota Celica GT-Four. He was sharing a car with Keiichi Suzuki and Fumio Akao. They were 20th.
1999 – a championship title in a Toyota MR-2
For the 1998 GT season, Nitta joined the team Apex to drive the #44 Toyota MR-2. Without wins, scoring just one podium, he finished third in the points. His co-drivers were Syouta Mizuno and Peter Dumbreck. Nitta didn't miss Spa 24 Hours in 1988, finishing 27th in a Toyota Celica.
In 1999, Nitta stayed in Toyota MR-2 but joined Momocorse Racing with Tsuchiya to drive the #25 car. Sharing a car with Shinichi Takagi, he won one race and took his second championship title. This time, he was a champion by just one point, beating Yuji Ide and Takeshi Tsuchiya.
Three seasons and one title with #31 Toyota MR-2
In 2000, Nitta changed a team again but stayed in a Toyota MR-2. He was driving the #31 car for Super Autobacs Apex, sharing a car with Yuudai Igarashi in three rounds and then with Shinichi Takagi in five races. Nitta and Takagi won the race at Suzuka and Nitta finished seventh in the points.
In 2001, Nitta was again seventh in the championship with #31 ARTA Apex Toyota MR-2. His full-time partner was Shinichi Takagi and they won one race. In 2002, the #31 ARTA Apex Toyota MR-2 was the championship-winning car, with Nitta and Takagi as drivers. They won just one race but it was enough for the title.
Racing in an ASL Garaiya race car since 2003
In 2003, Nitta and Takagi were defending GT300 championship title in a new car. Autobacs Racing Team Aguri (ARTA) and its manufacturing arm Autobacs Sportscar Laboratory (ASL) produced a Nissan-powered Garaiya race car. In his first season with #43 Garaiya, Nitta scored two podiums to finish seventh in the points.
In 2004, Garaiya became a winning car. Scoring two wins, Nitta and Takagi finished second in the final GT300 standings, losing a title by one point to Tetsuya Yamano and Hiroyuki Yagi. In 2005, Nitta /Takagi scored one victory to finish third in the points.
In 2006, ARTA didn't compete in GT300 class so Nitta and Takagi joined the team APR to drive the #101 Toyota MR-S. They finished fifth in the points with one victory. In 2006, Nitta also joined Team Kawamura in three rounds of the Japanese Le Mans Challenge, scoring a GT2 class win in a Porsche 996 GR3 RSR at Sugo and Motegi.
Racing with ARTA until 2010
In 2007, both Nitta and Takagi returned to ARTA's #43 ASL Garaiya. They were race winner once, finishing fourth in the points. Nitta again joined Team Kawamura in the Le Mans Challenge. This time, he was driving a Ferrari F430 GTC to three GT2 class victories.
In 2008, Nitta and Takagi were the vice-champions in GT300 class after scoring two wins in the #43 Garaiya. In 2009, they were fourth with one victory and then again the vice-champions in 2010 with three podiums on their account. It was the fourth time that Nitta ended a season as a vice-champion.
Four seasons with the team APR
In 2011, Nitta left ARTA and rejoined APR to drive the #74 Toyota Corolla Axio in GT300 class of the Super GT Series. His new co-driver was young Yuji Kunimoto. Without wins, they finished seventh in the points. In 2012, Nitta's full-time co-driver in the #31 Toyota Prius was Koki Saga. They ended a season tenth in the points.
Nitta and Saga scored their first win in the #31 Toyota Prius at Fuji Speedway in April 2013. They ended a season 8th in the final classification. In 2014, Nitta finished 8th in the championship in his last year with #31 Toyota.
Racing with BMW and Ferrari
For the 2015 Super GT season, Nitta accepted a new challenge, joining LM Corsa to drive the #51 BMW Z4 GT3. His co-driver was Shigekazu Wakisaka. Without wins or podiums, they finished 16th in the points. In 2016, the #51 car was a Ferrari 488 GT3. Nitta finished again 16th in the championship, sharing a car with Akihiro Tsuzuki (all rounds) and Shigekazu Wakisaka (two rounds).
Nitta spent the 2017 Super GT season in another Ferrari 488 GT3, the #50 car of Inging & Arnage Racing. His co-driver was Akihiro Tsuzuki again. They were on a podium Sportsland Sugo, finishing a season 18th in GT300 class.
Two seasons with Lexus RC F GT3
For the 2018 Super GT season, Nitta joined LM Corsa to drive the #96 Lexus RC F GT3. He was sharing a car with Yuichi Nakayama, winning two races (Suzuka and Autopolis) to finish sixth in the points of the GT300 class.
Nitta stayed in the #96 Lexus in 2019, with Sena Sakaguchi as his new co-driver. They won two races, the first round at Okayama and third round at Suzuka, finishing the season as vice-champions.