Takuma Aoki joins I-PACE eTROPHY grid, set to make history in Mexico

Competing in the third race of the season on February 15, Aoki will become the first disabled racing driver to compete in an international-level electric motorsport series, driving a specially modified Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY racecar.

As a successful motorcycle racer, securing one victory in the Superbike World Championship, an accident in 1998 left the Japanese racer paralysed from the waist down.

Making his debut in the fully-electric production car series this month, Aoki will drive for new I-PACE eTROPHY entry Team Yokohama Challenge.

“I am very excited to be joining the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY with Team Yokohama Challenge for my first competition in electric racing,” he said.

“Everybody is a challenger in life but I can now prove once more that life is not ending and you can still challenge your dreams even if you are paralysed.

“I want to thank the Jaguar Racing engineering team, GuidoSimplex and M-Sport for their hard work on modifying the car, I can’t wait to be competing in Mexico City alongside some experienced racers.”

Piloting a specially modified car, Aoki’s vehicle will feature a Guido Simplex America Lever actuator fitted to the steering column, providing hand controls for accelerating and braking, designed and developed by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations division with the aid of M-Sport and the Yokohama Challenge outfit.

“Adapting the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY to be driven with hand controls was an exciting challenge for SVO,” said Adam Jones, Vehicle Engineering Manager of the Formula E support series.

“Working alongside Takuma’s race team and M-Sport we have delivered a package that will enable Takuma to transition competitively into the eTROPHY race series. It has been a great collaboration and demonstrates the progressive and innovative engineering behind the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY.”

Aoki has most recently competed in the 2019 Michelin Le Mans Cup in LMP3 and in the 2019 Road To Le Mans – support series for the 2019 24-hour race.

In 2009, Aoki also piloted a modified vehicle in the Dakar Rally while also competing in the 2016 Asia Cross Country Rally.

“We are very pleased to welcome Takuma to the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY,” added Series Manager Mark Turner.

“Throughout his career he has shown resilience and delivered competitive racing performances, which no doubt will continue as he ventures into electric racing for the first time.”

The 2019/20 I-PACE eTROPHY campaign commenced in Diriyah in November with reigning champion Sergio Jimenez and Simon Evans tied on points after two races.

Source: Motorsportweek