Giuliano Alesi, the son of ex-Formula 1 racer Jean, will contest the Super Formula Lights series this year with the Toyota-affiliated TOM’S squad.
The 21-year-old will take on a double programme in Japan as he is also set to race in SUPER GT’s GT300 ranks with Toyota Team Thailand alongside Sean Walkinshaw.
Alesi is half-Japanese – his mother is the singer and actress Kumiko Goto – allowing him to negotiate Japan’s COVID-19 travel restrictions that forced some international drivers to abandon plans to race in Super Formula or SUPER GT last year.
“Giuliano leaves on Monday [to Japan],” Alesi Sr told Motorsport.com. “There’s no problem [with travel] because he has a Japanese passport. That’s quite easy.
“He has the first test at Fuji Speedway in February with the GT car, so that will be his first welcome in Japan.
“I’m so proud that TOM’S have accepted Giuliano and have welcomed him in their family. I hope my son can bring the results and start a good story with them.”
A strong performance in SF Lights - previously known as All-Japan Formula 3 - would likely put Alesi in a good position to join Toyota’s roster of Super Formula drivers as early as 2022.
Toyota has yet to name its full Super Formula Lights line-up for 2021. In last month’s post-season test at Fuji Speedway, Miyata’s 2020 teammate Kazuko Kotaka ran alongside Hibiki Taira, last year’s Japanese Formula 4 champion.
Team Thailand was also not mentioned in that announcement, with Toyota simply listing the #35 used by the team in recent seasons as ‘TBN’. Alesi's new teammate Walkinshaw is set for his third season with the squad, the pair most likely piloting a Lexus RC F GT3.