Otsu set to fill Mugen Super Formula vacancy

Hiroki Otsu has emerged as the favourite to land the vacant Super Formula seat with leading Honda squad Team Mugen.

Otsu set to fill Mugen Super Formula vacancy
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Motorsport.com understands that Nakajima Racing SUPER GT driver Otsu is set to partner the previously-announced Tomoki Nojiri, driving the #15 car that was left unfilled when Honda announced the majority of its 2021 line-up earlier in the month.

The 26-year-old missed out on a Super Formula drive last year when he was passed up in favour of Toshiki Oyu for the vacant Nakajima seat alongside Tadasuke Makino.

However, Otsu belatedly made his race debut in last year’s Fuji Speedway season finale after being called up to replace an unwell Makino at Nakajima, finishing 13th.

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Otsu’s anticipated arrival at Mugen marks a departure for a team that, from 2017 until the start of last year, had always fielded one of Red Bull’s junior drivers in its second car.

Current travel restrictions in place amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic make it almost impossible for any of the Austrian energy drink giant’s current proteges to race in Japan, with Juri Vips having had to abandon plans to race in Super Formula last year.

Ukyo Sasahara, Team Mugen

Ukyo Sasahara, Team Mugen

Photo by: Masahide Kamio

However, Red Bull's backing of the #15 car is understood to be likely to continue.

Ukyo Sasahara ended up filling in for Vips for the full 2020 campaign, but managed only one points finish in the final round of the season at Fuji Speedway.

Despite losing his drive in Super Formula, Sasahara’s relationship with Mugen will continue in SUPER GT, where he will be partnered by Oyu in 2021. Otsu meanwhile continues for a second season in the series alongside Takuya Izawa at Nakajima.

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Besides Mugen, there are just two other seats left to fill on the 2021 Super Formula grid, both of which are at another Honda outfit, B-Max Racing.

2021 Super Formula grid so far:






Japan Sho Tsuboi

Japan Sena Sakaguchi

Rookie Racing

Japan Kazuya Oshima


Japan Yuji Kunimoto

Japan Kamui Kobayashi*


Japan Kazuki Nakajima*

Japan Ritomo Miyata


Japan Yuhi Sekiguchi

Japan Ryo Hirakawa

Kondo Racing

Japan Kenta Yamashita

France Sacha Fenestraz






Dandelion Racing

Japan Nirei Fukuzumi

Japan Tadasuke Makino

Team Mugen

Japan Tomoki Nojiri

Japan Hiroki Otsu

Nakajima Racing

Japan Naoki Yamamoto

Japan Toshiki Oyu

Drago Corse

Colombia Tatiana Calderon

B-Max Racing



* Could miss races owing to Toyota WEC commitments

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