Japan has its own fair share of racing drivers who have hit the global scene, but one among the best is Takuma Sato. The professional racing driver who is the first Japanese to win an IndyCar race has enjoyed a career that has seen him take part in different series including the Masters of Formula 3 and Formula One. Through it all, he has a number of titles behind his wheels while setting a few records on the way. Here is all to know about him.
Takuma Sato – Biography
Takuma Sato was born on 28 January 1977 in his home country of Japan and it was there that he was brought up. As a child growing up, he fell in love with racing and so, he decided to start with what he had access to – a bicycle. His dream of becoming a race driver began when he first saw the sport for the first time at the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka in 1987.
While he was in high school and college, he raced bicycles and even became a national cycling champion in high school. The most important thing for him, however, when he was in school was to only learn about cars and racing.
At the age of 19, he got into the Suzuka Racing School but was forced to leave because of the age restriction which specified that you have to be under 20 to be in the school. Hence, unlike many others who began their career as little kids, he started when he was already 20. Although he knew that was quite late for him to begin, he still went on to try.
Takuma Sato was able to buy his first cart in 1996 and by 1998, he had found his way into the Japan Formula 3 Championship but was soon off to Europe with not a word in English on his tongue to pursue his dream. There, he enjoyed a rather good junior campaign, rising pretty fast.
His first romance with the Formula One was in 2001 when he tested for BAR, however, it was with Jordan that he would go on to sign a deal in 2002, even though he impressed BAR. He ended fifth at the Grand Prix in Suzuka before joining Bar in 2003 with which he remained until 2005. In 2006, he joined Super Aguri F1 team. He raced for the team until 2009.
His greatest success came in the IndyCar Series where he made a debut in 2010 for the KV Racing Technology team, although he did not have a most perfect start, ending in 21st place. He moved to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in 2012 and then A. J. Foyt Enterprises in 2013. It was here that he recorded his first IndyCar win in the same year.
He remained with the team until he joined Andretti Autosport for the 2017 season. There, he won the Indianapolis 500, making him the first Japanese as well as a non-Caucasian driver to earn the feat. He also won two poles in the year before winning his third career race in 2018 with an Indianapolis 500 win to his belt.
Family – Wife
With a racing life that has overshadowed almost all other parts of his life, there is not much that is known about the family of Takuma Sato. Nonetheless, it is known that his parents have been supportive of him all through, although his mother was at first, worried that the sport was dangerous.
The former Formula One race driver is married to Chiharu Sato. Without much knowledge of how they met, it is known that the two have dated for more than two years before deciding to end up as man and wife in 2005.
The union has been blessed with two children, a boy and a girl. While the boy was born in 2006, the girl was born in 2008 at Monaco’s Princess Grace Hospital.
Although he has not spent forever behind the wheels as a professional racing driver, Takuma Sato has done so much for himself considering all he has achieved. In 2017 when he won the Indianapolis 500, he took home over $2.4 million. Although the amount he won at the 2018 Grand Prix of Portland is not known, it will be significant. With that said, his overall net worth is still under review.
Height and Weight
Takuma Sato is not the tallest or most built man that you would find behind the wheels, even though he is one who is worth his salt. He stands at a height of 5 feet 4 inches (1.64 m) and has a body weight of 59 kg.