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Shinji Nakano (中野 信治, born April 1, 1971 in Osaka, Japan[1]) is a former F1 racing driver from Japan.

His father, Tsuneharu was also a racing driver who competed in the All-Japan Formula Three Championship.

Racing career[]

Pre Formula One Career[]

1984-'88: Karting, several Japanese titles.
1989: 7th in Japanese Formula 3 championship
1990: European Formula Opel Lotus Championship, 1 victory
1991: Formula Opel Lotus Euroseries
1992: Japanese Formula 3 and Formula 3000 championship
1993-'94: Japanese Formula 3 championship
1995-'96: Japanese Formula 3000 championship

Formula One Career[]

Nakano started his Formula One racing career for the Prost Grand Prix team, owned by legendary four times Formula One World Champion Alain Prost.

Making his début at the 1997 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, he finished 7th with just two laps behind the race winner David Coulthard, and ahead of Heinz-Harald Frentzen who got brake problems on lap 55.

The 1997 season saw him score two world championship points with two 6th place finishes in Canada and Hungary. With his place at the Prost team, a switch to Peugeot engines saw the French outfit drop Nakano in favour of Jarno Trulli and Olivier Panis. However, Nakano was able to pick up a ride at Minardi for the 1998 season.

Unsurprisingly, Nakano struggled in the underpowered and underfinanced Italian team. He failed to score any points in 1998 and left from Formula One racing for good at his home Grand Prix at Suzuka, Japan, having contested a total of 33 Grands Prix.

He spent 1999 as an occasional test driver for the Jordan team, which also used Mugen-Honda engines.

After Formula One[]

After Formula One, Nakano went to race in Champ Car for Walker Racing and Fernandez Racing. He made 56 starts from 2000 to 2002 with a best points finish of 17th in 2002 and a best race result of 4th at the 2002 Molson Indy Toronto. He also started 15th in the 2003 Indianapolis 500 for Beck Motorsports, finishing 14th. He competed in the 2006 and 2008 24 Hours of Le Mans races and returned to the event in 2011 with Oak Racing.


Nakano's helmet was black with a black circle on the top surrounded by a white halo, with a red and silver flame design surrounding the visor and a black and silver checkered flag behind of it, in CART he changed the black for white, the halo became blue, the black circle became red, the checkered flag disappeared and the flame became red with blue outline. in Le Mans, he added more flames in the point where the checkered flag was.

Formula One Career Record[]

Year Entrant Team WDC Pts. WDC Pos. Report
1996 Japan Dome Company Dome-Mugen-Honda Team Pre-Entry Test Driver
France Ligier Gauloises Blondes Ligier-Mugen-Honda F1 Indoor Trophy only
1997 France Prost Gauloises Blondes Prost-Mugen-Honda 2 18th Report
1998 Italy Fondmetal Minardi Team Minardi-Ford 0 NC Report
1999 Ireland Benson & Hedges Jordan Jordan-Mugen-Honda Test Driver


Entries 33
Starts 33
Pole Positions 0
Front Row Starts 0
Race Wins 0
Podiums 0
Fastest Laps 0
Points 2
Laps Raced 1493
Distance Raced 7045 km (4378 mi)

Career Results[]

Complete Formula One Results
Year 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Pts Pos
1997 Flag of Australia.svg Flag of Brazil.svg Flag of Argentina.svg Flag of San Marino.svg Flag of Monaco.svg Flag of Spain.svg Flag of Canada.svg Flag of France.svg Flag of Great Britain.svg Flag of Germany.svg Flag of Hungary.svg Flag of Belgium.svg Flag of Italy.svg Flag of Austria.svg Flag of Luxembourg.svg Flag of Japan.svg Flag of Europe.svg 2 18th
7th 14th Ret Ret Ret Ret 6th Ret 11th 7th 6th Ret 11th Ret Ret Ret 10th
1998 Flag of Australia.svg Flag of Brazil.svg Flag of Argentina.svg Flag of San Marino.svg Flag of Spain.svg Flag of Monaco.svg Flag of Canada.svg Flag of France.svg Flag of Great Britain.svg Flag of Austria.svg Flag of Germany.svg Flag of Hungary.svg Flag of Belgium.svg Flag of Italy.svg Flag of Luxembourg.svg Flag of Japan.svg 0 NC
Ret Ret 13th Ret 14th 9th 7th 17th 8th 11th Ret 15th 8th Ret 15th Ret
Symbol Meaning Symbol Meaning
1st Winner Ret Retired
2nd Podium finish DSQ Disqualified
3rd DNQ Did not qualify
5th Points finish DNPQ Did not pre-qualify
14th Non-points finish TD Test driver
Italics Scored point(s) for Fastest Lap DNS Did not start
18th Classified finish (retired with >90% race distance) NC Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)
4thP Qualified for pole position [+] More Symbols

External links[]


  1. Shinji Nakano. Manipe F1. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
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