Former World Superbike winner and 500cc Grand Prix rostrum-finisher Takuma Aoki will make history by becoming the first disabled driver to compete in the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy at the upcoming Mexico City round.

After winning as a wildcard entry in World Superbikes at the 1996 Japanese round at Sugo, Aoki returned to Grand Prix racing in 1997 and claimed three rostrum results for Repsol Honda on his way to fifth place in the riders’ world championship. But disaster hit the Japanese rider when his career was cut short by an paralysing accident which lost him the use of his legs.

Remaining part of the Honda family and retaining his desire to race, Aoki has contested the 2009 Dakar Rally, had numerous entries in the FIA Cross Country Rally series and won races in the Asian GT series.

Aoki’s next challenge sees him compete in the electric Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy series for Team Yokohama Challenge in Mexico City, making him the first disabled person to compete in an international electric race series.

“I am very excited to be joining the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy with Team Yokohama Challenge for my first competition in electric racing,” Aoki, who will use a specially-modified car, 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.”

Aoki recently completed demonstration laps on a modified Honda bike at last year’s Suzuka 8 Hours and Japanese MotoGP at Motegi assisted by his brothers Nobuatsu and Haruchika who are also well known Grand Prix riders. Haruchika won two 125cc world championships while Nobuatsu won a 250cc Grand Prix, claimed podiums at 500cc level and has previously been a Suzuki MotoGP development rider.

The Mexico City round takes place at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on February 15 and acts as a support race to Formula E’s Mexico City ePrix.

 

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