Shinobu Katayama

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Template:F1 driver Shinobu Katayama (born 7th April 1990, Tsukuba city, Ibaraki, Japan) is a female Japanese racing driver, currently driving for the Sunshine Infiniti team in the Formula 1 Rejects World Race Series' 2014 season. Behind 2012 champion Pippa Mann, Katayama is the most successful female driver in the history of the F1RWRS.

Early Career

Living close to the Tsukuba circuit, Shinobu at a young age wanted to be a racing driver. She won several Karting championships before she was 12 and won the Japanese Karting Championship at 15. During high school she flirted with Formula Suzuki and came 3rd despite only completing in half the races and won 75% of the races she entered. She was signed by Nissan as part of their young driver program. The Japanese F3 championship was won when she was 18, Formula Nippon at 20 and the inaugural F1RLFS Cup at 21 with just one last-minute race victory. By the time the series was taken over by Finnish NVRT Holdings under the guise of Rejects of LFS, the driver's championship trophy (won by Cave Johnson and Marcel Agyemang-Badu in 2014 and 2015 respectively) is named after her.

Career in the F1RWRS

Australian Minardi (2012)

Katayama made her first appearance in the F1RWRS mid-way through the 2012 season, driving a second car for Australian Minardi. This came about following the takeover of the team by Nissan's motorsport arm Nismo, who desired a Japanese presence in the team. Katayama was guaranteed a place at the team for 2013 anyway, but was given the last six races of 2012 to get herself accustomed to the series. Following her debut at the Tasman GP, Katayama generally struggled for performance, however she was able to finish a strong fourth at the Australian Grand Prix, her first ever points finish, and Australian Minardi's last before the full takeover by Nissan took effect.

Sunshine Infiniti (2013-2014)

At the end of 2012, the Australian Minardi team was re-branded as Sunshine Infiniti and used Nissan engines badged as Infinitis, the name of the manufacturer's luxury vehicle arm. Katayama was thus retained in the new team, and was partnered by fellow countryman Hagane Shizuka. The Sunshine SN-1 suffered greatly with unreliability over the course of the 2013 season however, and consequently Katayama only finished three races over the whole year, though she was classified as completing over 90% of the race distance in a further two. In all three races she scored points though, starting with fifth at the US Grand Prix, followed by her first podium with second place at Portugal, where she also took fastest lap, a feat she achieved on three other occasions during the year. Her final finish was also her best, at her home race, the Japanese Grand Prix, she took pole position, and went on to win in front of a jubilant Japanese crowd. With a total of 18 points over the year, it was enough to give Katayama joint 8th place in the drivers' championship by the end of the season, tied with Daniel Melrose.

For 2014, Katayama remained with Sunshine, and reaped the benefit of a more reliable car. Whilst teammate Kay Lon struggled greatly with accidents and mechanical issues, Katayama was able to consistently finish and pick up a number of good results. By half distance she had scored all of the team's 15 points, with a best result of two second places at Australia and France. A third place at the ninth race of the year, the German GP, meant she had beaten her score from 2013 with another seven races left to go.

Complete F1RWRS Results

Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 DC Pts
2012 Australian Minardi Minardi PS10 BMW P86/12 BAV SAX GER LUX BEL NED GBR KEN ENG TAS
10
SUR
Ret
NSW
12
AUS
4
CHN
22
USA
14
500
15
=25th 5
2013 Sunshine Infiniti Sunshine SN-1 Infiniti TAS
Ret
AUS
Ret
MEX
Ret
USA
5
MON
Ret
FRA
11†
GBR
11†
GER
Ret
NED
Ret
BEL
Ret
POR
2
MED
Ret
MAC
Ret
CHN
Ret
JPN
1
BRA
Ret
=8th 18
2014 Sunshine Infiniti Sunshine SN-2 Infiniti TAS
4
AUS
2
BRA
12
MEX
8
USA
Ret
MON
Ret
FRA
2
GBR
12
GER
3
BEL
6
ITA
3
MED
Ret
NED
9
MAC
1
CHN
3
JPN
10
3rd 38
2015 Sunshine Daihatsu Sunshine SN-3 Daihatsu TAS
Ret
AUS MED MON
Ret
MEX USA CAN GBR GER
4
BEL
15
AUT
4
ITA
Ret
NED
DNQ
CHN
DNPQ
JPN
Ret
BRA
DNPQ
18th* 6*
  • * Season in progress
  • † Driver did not finish the Grand Prix, but was classified as they completed over 90% of the race distance.
Preceded by:
None
Rejects of LFS champion
2011 (as F1RLFS)
Succeded by:
Cave Johnson
(2014)