Headline News

Ren Sato Fastest in Rookie Test


Ren Sato(Red Bull MUGEN Team Goh)

The 2021 Super Formula rookie test took place on a separate day than manufacturer testing this season. The test was held on Thursday, December 9. Participants were Ren Sato (Red Bull MUGEN Team Goh), Atsushi Miyake (KCMG), Hibiki Taira (ROOKIE RACING), who raced in Super Formula Lights this season, and master class champ Nobuhiro Imada (B-MAX RACING TEAM). Sato and Miyake also participated in the 2 days of manufacturing testing, held prior to the rookie test. Sessions for the rookie test were 9-10 am and 10:30-11:30 am. At the end of the first session, Sato set the benchmark with a lap time of 1: 37.112, which went on to be the fastest time during the test.

Suzuka Circuit was blessed with a warm winter morning for the testing, but strong winds persisted from the day before. The 1st session got underway at 9 am, as scheduled. Miyake, onboard Super Formula former champ Yuji Kunimoto’s machine gradually increased his lap times coming in with a 1:38:903 at that point. Following that, Ren Sato set a lap time of 1:38:179. Miyake’s time improved yet again with a 1:38:430 lap. About 24 minutes into the session the red flag came out, after Imada couldn’t stop entering the hairpin, causing him to go off course. After resumption, Sato dropped his time down to 1:37:792. Now with fresh boots on, Miyake set a time of 1:37:390. Sato also put on new tires and stuck it with a 1:37:112 lap. Imada finished with a 1:43:379 in the session.


After a 30-minute interval, the second session started at 10:30 am. In this session, Miyake switched to Kamui Kobayashi’s (KCMG) machine for a comparative test. Miyake set a lap time of 1:37:989 at the 20-minute point in the session. Taira also improved his time with a 1:37:447. Imada also found his stride with a time of 1:41:155. He tried to improve on that time, but Sector 3 proved tough for him, so his lap time didn’t go down. Midway into the session, Sato set a fast lap time of 1:37:283—which ended up being his best time of the session. Miyake and Imada both improved their times at the end of the session with Miyake setting a time of 1:37:760, as Imada recorded his best time of 1:41:069, with 3 minutes remaining in the test. Sato finished the test with the overall top time. Miyake had the second fastest time. Taira followed in 3rd, with Imada finishing in 4th

Nobuhiro Imada(B-MAX RACING TEAM)
Atsushi Miyake(KCMG)

Ren Sato had the following to say after participating in the rookie test:

“Honda gave me a chance to test over these 3 days. I am also grateful to JRP for letting us test over such a long distance. I think the test length helped me to improve a little at a time over the past 3 days. At first, I was surprised at the engine power in Super Formula. There are many similarities between Super Formula Lights and the characteristics of the car, and even the downforce, but since SF has more than double the horsepower, it was my first time experiencing such incredible power. So, I took it carefully with my foot on the accelerator. The g-force had such an effect on me to the point where I couldn’t really move my neck during the 1st day of testing in dry conditions. On the 2nd day, I got more used to the car and the g-force, and began to improve a bit. I ran quite a bit in dry conditions and I had my teammate Nojiri’s ride to compare to my car, which provided good data. I analyzed various things last night. So, I improved bit by bit, and in today’s first session I was able to significantly improve my time compared to yesterday. I think it is all came together a little at a time. I ran against other drivers who also participated in Super Formula Lights this season. So, we were all on even ground testing in Super Formula. I wanted to set better lap times than they did, so that was the frame of mind I tested with. I ended up putting in the most laps, and absolutely couldn’t lose out to them. I feel I can push even more in this car, so I am going to take a closer look at the data.”

Atsushi Miyake commented:

“I also ran for 3 days. I shared the car with Yuji (Kunimoto). Both he and Kamui have so much more experience than I do. I had plenty of data to speak to my engineer about on how to set up the car. There were some good parts of that and bad, too. Today, I drove both Yuji’s and Kamui’s cars, but in yesterday’s test, it seems that the setup was slightly different between them. I had a look for myself how different of a set-up they use.”

Was it difficult in this three-day test? “I needed to control the accelerator in the rain, because of the huge turbo boost the machines have. I needed to be careful not to crash, because it was a bit worrisome in the wet. In dry conditions, the wind blew hard. The conditions may have been the same if I were in a Super Formula Lights car, but I felt like I just couldn’t keep full control of the car. In the S corners, I was way behind the way Yuji and Kamui perform there, so I really didn’t ‘own it.’ Like Ren, I ran over the 3 full days of testing and didn’t want to lose to the other rookies. However, the menu that each team had was different, and if you try to set a fast lap and crash, you’re done. I ended up not worrying about my time and just tried not to crash while collecting data for the team.”

Hibiki Taira commented:

“Just a season ago, I was driving in FIA-F4. So, I am extremely grateful to the team for allowing me to participate in this rookie test. I truly did not want to waste this opportunity, so I put in as much concentration into this test as I possibly could. I put in a lot of time in the simulator prior to coming into the test. I was worried if my eyes could remain where they needed to be, because it is so different racing in Super Formula. It wound up that I wasn’t able to keep them where they needed to be at first. It is a Dallara chassis like Super Formula Lights, and my seat fit went right into place. Because of the similarities of the cars, I didn’t feel like a fish out of water. I’d really like to have the opportunity to drive a Super Formula car again. The interval between sessions was only 30 minutes, so I got a bit to drink, went to the restroom, and got some advice from the team director Mr. Kataoka, and Kazuya Oshima. I took a look at the data logger from the prior day of testing. There were fast places and slow places, so we analyzed each of those and tried to improve things in the 2nd session—which seemed to help improve my time. Compared to the 1st session, I was able to work out where I could just kind of relax a bit more in the car, which helped. In your first time in this car it is a bit scary, you really tense up, so I was worn out when I got back to the pit. In the 2nd session, I was able to let it go a bit and relax. Once I got some fresh boots on, I had seen by watching carefully last night that the drivers normally do an out lap, another lap to warm up the tires, then on the 3rd one they do a hot lap. So that is what I did. I was shocked at the grip I got in the S corner and tried to keep it throughout the entire lap, but just couldn’t do it. I felt I could have improved on my lap time. I didn’t worry myself on what the other drivers’ times looked like. Both Atsushi Miyake and Ren Sato had two full days of testing prior today, so it was more about driving the car safely for me. The team told me ‘don’t worry about your lap times,’ so I took their advice and did what I could do.”

Nobuhiro Imada commented:

“Last time, I rode (in a Super Formula car) was at Fuji Speedway. The team called me up all of a sudden, but this time I did quite a bit of training in the simulator. But the time difference compared to young drivers is just about the same difference as it is in Super Formula Lights. I wanted to lessen that gap, but with the increased sense of speed (of the car), the course felt narrower than I expected. It was a new experience for me. I feel like there was much more to get in the corners, however I just couldn’t keep up with the speed this car offers. Honestly, it was a great experience and one of the best days of my life. New tires have intense grip on the first lap out. I thought I knew how to use Yokohama’s tires, because that is what we use in Super Formula Lights, but there is so much more grip. I just wasn’t able to take full advantage of the grip that the tires give. Anyway, it was a very good day. I would definitely like to be able to drive this car again.”



  • 鈴鹿サーキット
  • オートポリス
  • スポーツランドSUGO
  • 富士スピードウェイ
  • ツインリンクもてぎ
  • 岡山国際サーキット


Official Youtube






  • デロイト トーマツ コンサルティング合同会社
  • 株式会社ホンダレーシング
  • 株式会社スリーボンド
  • 横浜ゴム株式会社
  • ダラーラ・アウトモビリ S.p.A
  • Bcomp Ltd.
  • Viron Japan 株式会社
  • 富士通株式会社
  • キングレコード株式会社


  • 株式会社M-TEC
  • 国立大学法人東京大学
  • 東京電力エナジーパートナー株式会社
  • 日本自然エネルギー株式会社
  • 伊藤忠エネクス
  • sgzk
  • RED
  • 人気酒造株式会社
  • 株式会社ジェイ・スポーツ
  • 株式会社マイクロン