Outside of Formula 1 and the ovals of IndyCar, the Japanese Super Formula championship is probably the fastest single-seater championship around. All drivers compete in identical Dallara SF19 chassis powered by turbocharged 2.0-litre four-bangers (built by either Toyota or Honda) and push out around 640bhp.
Around Suzuka, that makes the cars around eight seconds a lap slower than an F1 car - which is understandable, considering that F1 teams spend hundreds of millions on car development and have hybrid power units which generate close to 1000bhp. However, when it comes to the corners the Super Formula car isn’t a million miles away, thanks to a combination of lighter weight and clever use of underbody aerodynamics (which is heavily restricted in F1).
That’s what makes the series so popular as a feeder series for both young drivers preparing for F1 and experienced racers who are looking for their single-seater fix.
The racing is fast, close and unpredictable - don’t believe me? Check out the first race of the season and see how pole-sitter Makino got on, because that’s the other great thing about Super Formula - all the races are streamed live on YouTube.