Legends on Track for 30th Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka

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Legendary drivers from the Japanese Grand Prix era are being reunited with their original machinery for the 30th edition of the event this weekend at Suzuka, including two-time World Champion Mika Hakkinen, Jean Alesi and a host of Japanese drivers.

Images courtesy Suzuka Circuit. On-track demonstration laps take place each day of the Japanese Grand Prix weekend and the legendary drivers will also be making guest appearances on the F1 Stage in GP Square (behind the Main Grandstand). Click here for the full appearance and on-track schedule or download the brochure.

Two-time World Champion Mika Häkkinen will be driving the McLaren MP4-13 that took him to his first World Championship in 1998. Häkkinen scored eight victories during the season, including the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, where he sealed the Championship by 14 points over Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher.

French driver Jean Alesi will be piloting the Ferrari F187 that was driven by Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto during the 1987 Formula 1 season. The Ferrari F187 is notable for winning the inaugural Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka at the hands of Gerhard Berger.

Retired Brazilian driver and 11-time F1 winner Felipe Massa will be driving two race-winning Ferrari cars from 2005 and 2010 at Suzuka. On Friday and Sunday, he will take to the track in the Ferrar 248F1 from 2006, which was named after its V8 engine and recorded nine race wins and seven pole positions. On Sunday, Massa will drive the Ferrari F10, which Fernando Alonso took to four race wins in 2010.

Local legend Satoru Nakajima will be reunited with his Lotus 100T from the 1988 Formula 1 season. Although powered by the same 1.5 litre Honda V6 Turbo as title-winners McLaren, the Lotus 100T could only manage three podiums during 1988, all courtesy of Nelson Piquet. 

Japanese driver Aguri Suzuki is going to be driving the Benetton B189, which won the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix. That race is best remembered for a famous collision between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, but the victory went to Alessandro Nannini in the Benetton B189- his only F1 success. Aguri Suzuki’s best F1 result came one year later at home when he finished in 3rd place at the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix for Larrousse-Lamborghini.

Takuma Sato will drive the legendary McLaren MP4-6, which was powered by a V12 Honda engine and took Ayrton Senna to his third and final World Championship in 1991. The Japanese driver started 90 Formula 1 races between 2002-2008, scoring a best finish of 4th place at his home race for BAR in 2004.

Japanese driver Kazuki Nakajima (son of Satoru) will pilot the revolutionary Tyrell 019 that was driven by his father and Jean Alesi in the 1990 Formula 1 season. The car was the first to feature a raised nosecone and scored a best result of 2nd place at the Monaco Grand Prix courtesy of Jean Alesi.

Read our Japanese Grand Prix Travel Guide.

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About the Author ()

Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of F1Destinations.com. He originally hails from Adelaide, where he went to his first F1 race way back in 1987. He's been resident in Europe for almost 15 years and travels regularly to F1 races around the world.

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