We are not afraid to say that in last few years, Juju Noda has become a huge name in motorsport – We passionately believe it is not the last time we are going to hear this name. The young Japanese driver is proving that her place is in the highest echelons of racing.
For International Women’s Day 2020, we spoke with Juju. You can find the interview from 2020 here: http://bit.ly/3bWkZPe
Juju got into racing because she had grown up around race paddocks, a result of her father, Hideki Noda, a former Formula 1 driver. However, would she still be a part of the motorsport community if she had not grown up in racing family? Absolutely yes.
“I was influenced by my father, for sure but I really believe that even without my father, I would still have developed an interest in motor racing. I naturally love driving. That is why I would feel very natural for my life to go in this direction.”
For the 2021 season, Juju is joining Jay Howard Driver Development for the upcoming US F4 championship for what is a big step-up for the 15-years-old Japanese driver.
“Everything will be new again for me. The car, the team, the circuits, the place to live… I have to learn and go through so many things. My father and team told me to just take it easy at the beginning of the season. And then, gradually move up to a higher level.”
Although, the upcoming US F4 championship is her only race programme in 2021 and the 15-year-old driver is hungry for more challenges.
“I would like to learn as much as possible during the year both inside and outside the track, as well as bringing my own abilities to a higher level. Any experience I get will make me stronger.”
It has been a wild season in Denmark, but we can all be very satisfied with what we have achieved! 😊
— NODA Racing (@NODA_Racing) October 28, 2020
Because of Noda’s age, she was unable to develop her driving skills in Japan, causing her to leave her motherland. The Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) regulations are strict and drivers under 16 years of age cannot take part in Japanese championships.
The 2020 season was Juju’s first season in Danish F4 championship (there is no minimum age for participants) – her first in Europe. The best memory from this experience is on her debut race.
“I took the pole position and led the whole race, pole to win. You only get one chance at achieving that and I couldn’t believe how I managed it. I also qualified 100% on pole position in every qualifying session. That was never going to be easy to do, so I was very happy to do it.”
The opening race of the Danish F4 championship was not the only success she was to have. Noda went on to score every pole position and achieve 3 podium finishes (1st race – 1st place, 4th race – 2nd place and 5th race – 3rd place). She finished the season 6th place in championship.
It will not surprise anybody that 2020 changed the entire world. But how has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the rising star?
“The effect was very big, and it was obviously disappointing because I was supposed to have 24 races in total and it ended up being only 9 races. I was really confident to win more races and to challenge for the title.”
The 2021 US F4 championship will start on 26th of March at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. It will be the first race week for Juju this year.