Former Grand Prix driver Taki Inoue – a driver with a short, but very colourful, stint in F1 – is celebrating his 48th birthday today!
The Kobe-born driver contested one Grand Prix with Simtek in 1994 and a full season with Footwork in 1995 before quietly disappearing from the motorsport scene.
Aside from his love of expensive wines, Eric Clapton music and eating globe fish, little else was known about Taki when he arrived on the motorsport scene with bountiful sponsorship from his homeland.
He moved to the UK to compete in Formula Ford in 1987 before returning back to Japan in 1993 to contest the national Formula 3 championship. His results were uninspiring, with just a few fourth places being his best results.
He graduated to Formula 3000 with the top-flight Super Nova outfit, but even that didn’t propel him further up the grid, and he somehow scrambled to grab a superlicense to join the Simtek team for his home race in 1994. After barely scraping onto the grid, he crashed into the pit wall in the appalling conditions.
Undaunted, he gathered the necessary funds to buy the second seat at Footwork for the 1995 season. Miles off team-mate Morbidelli’s pace, he was generally invisible unless he got in the way of the leaders as they came to lap him.
His season contained little in the way of results aside from countless spins and accidents, but he shot to fame on account of two bizarre incidents: firstly, being hit by the course car when being towed back to the pits at Monaco, and then being run over by a marshal’s vehicle at Hungary after he’d retired during the race.