Kazuhiko Takagi (born March 27, 1970 in Fukoka) is Japanese racing driver that, notably, competed in F1 Rejects Grand Prix 2 Championship and Rejectful Eastern European Car Computerised Series as well as Formula One Rejects Big Car Championship. He is the son of former F1 driver Hiroshi Takagi
Takagi racing career was rather late. Takagi started karting in 1985 and in 1989 went to Japanese Formula 3. Takagi had a average carrer during his JF3 career. 1993 proved to be his best, with some attrition-assisted podiums that year. By this point, he have already received backing with Japan Tobacco, boosting his career further.
At the end of 1993, Takagi wanted to became a "Grand Prix class" driver. Thus, his sponsor, Japan Tobacco, landed him a Benetton drive in the 1994 F1RGP2C season. As a newcomer he initally struggled to master the car as well as reliablity of the car; he failed to finish at Brazil, Aida, and San Marino. However, an chaotic, high-attrition race at Monaco saw Takagi taking his first points and podium. A engine failure that he and other Ford-engined drivers suffered during French race led the Ford engine being nominated for Reject of The Race. Takagi also scored points at Germany (that led him getting IIDOTR) and Hungary.
Although Takagi's car gave up at Italian GP things went uphill by Portugal and Europe. Takagi secured podium on both races, second at Portugal and third at Europe. Then things gone downhill again by Suzuka as attrition caused by rain taken him out.
For the 1994 season finale, held at Adelaide, Australia, Takagi was supposed to aid Zimmer (and Benetton) in his team-mate's and team's championship quest. Takagi struggled and only managed to finish eigth on the race. Takagi finished eigth at 1994 championship. Believing he could do better, he stayed with them for 1995.
After poor start in Brazil in 1995, he secured second position at Argentina and won the San Marino race, and other than that, finished in the podium at Canada (his only other second position, barring Argentine), Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, and Aida. Following his eventful season, however, Benetton did not renew his contract. By this point his connections with Japan Tobacco had became sour and he parted ways with them shortly after he was released from Benetton.
The new management at Ferrari, led by Andreas Stefano, originally an employee at AGS F1 team, employed Takagi for 1996. His move was initially critized by Takagi's team-mate Tom Douglas who prefered Andrew Spokes (which went to Benetton, ironically taking over Takagi's seat) over Takagi. Initially, Takagi suffered from poor reliability in his first half of the season. He could not score a point until Spain, having suffered a near miss in the previous race. By Canada, Takagi returned to his peak form. Despite a puncture and spun-off, Takagi secured yet another podium in United States, where he was notably left alone for 10 minutes after Williamses of Pippa Mann and Daniel Moreno (which finished in first and second positions resepectively) have a trouble with their cars during their victory lap. Despite an electrical problem, in France he was still able to finish fifth in that race and he too set a fastest lap in Germany, with his teammate Douglas having a podium that race (Takagi only managed sixth due to electrical problem). Suspension issues, however, in Hungary, ended his points streak, with Ferrari getting RotR after a miscaluation during Douglas' refuelling, and he suffereed a mostly minor shunt in Belgian GP; doctors later cleared him to take part in the next round in Italy, which Takagi finishing in fifth with Douglas fourth to make the tifosi happy. He nearly won the finale in Japan but pressures from other drivers meant he had to finish fourth.
Takagi stayed with Ferrari for 1997.
Despite his age (Takagi began to ageing by time he entered REECCS), Takagi kept racing part-time. Takagi entered REECCS with a Polski-Fiat with backing from SS United, the company notorious for their controversial sponsorship with Super Aguri F1 team. Takagi nearly won the Monaco round but Takagi pushed too hard, finishing seventh there. Takagi was partnered by Massimilano Patrese during an endurance race that season. In the second season, Kazuhiko stepped down from the series and gave his seat in the series to his younger brother, Tetsuya.
Entering with F1RWRS rejects Mecha Grand Prix (known as Scuderia Mecha for F1RBCC) Takagi also began racing in his old age (incidentally there are some old-aged drivers there). His debut at Clyde Park was slow, but at highly controversial race in Somalia, Takagi went eighth. Evantually Takagi stopped driving after the series collapsed.
Takagi owns and runs Takagi Racing Enterprises. The team will compete in 2015 season of F3RWRS, acquiring the ailing Team Asia. The team also took part in Rejects of LFS with Hiroto Tojo and Yui Megumi (Reiko's younger sister) driving for them in RoLFS.
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