|Friday, 4-Jul-2008 08:07
Who is Nobuhiro Tajima - Suzuki Sport
Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima (Shinjitai: 田嶋 伸博, Tajima Nobuhiro?, Japanese nickname Monsuta Tajima), is a hillclimb racer, tuning shop owner, rally team manager and former rally driver who is best known for his involvement of Suzuki's involvement in rallying and also is largely best known for his association in Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, mainly through his car's appearances in video games.
Tajima made his race debut in 1968 in the All Japan Dirt Trial Championship which he won his first race and his first involvement in WRC was in the 1981 Lombard RAC Rally.
In 1983 he established Monster International a motorsport preparation shop. In 1986, he sealed his association with Suzuki when he established Suzuki Sports, its in-house motorsport division and returned to the World Rally scene when he competed driving a Suzuki Cultus in the Olympus Rally.
In 1987, he in the Olympus Rally which he took his first class win, finishing 15th overall and returned again for the following year which he finished 7th and another class win and as well as this, he competed in the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship.
As the Junior World Rally Championship project took off in 2002, he decided to retire from rally driving when he was competing in the Asia Pacific Rally to become its team manager, he has continued to compete in Hillclimbing which he best known for, first on his debut driving in the Unlimited category in 1992 with a specially built twin engined Suzuki Cultus, then again in 1995 with a rebodied twin engined Suzuki Escudo. For the following year, he would make its debut in a car he became famous for, the V6 Suzuki Escudo which he used it to compete in Pikes Peak, finishing second, only to lose to Rod Millen's Toyota Celica that broke the course record two years before and would make it first win in the 1998 Queenstown Gold Rush International Auto Hill Climb and another two for the following years.
Suzuki XL7 at the 2007 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb during the record breaking runIn 1999, his car became famous when it debuted in Sony PlayStation driving game Gran Turismo 2, which due to its gigantic horsepower, it became the game's best loved car by gamers and would appear in all subsequent series.
In 2006, at the Geneva Motor Show, he announced his plan for Suzuki Sport to form the Suzuki World Rally Team, fielding a Suzuki SX4 in 2007, but with World Rally Championship calendar changes Suzuki will now debut in 2008. Tajima would take in Pikes Peak that year with a newer version of the Vitara, despite crashing during practice he took another overall victory in a race that was shortened by rain. In all he has taken nine All Japan Dirt Trial Championship title, four WRC championship class wins, two class wins in the Asia Pacific Rally championship and seven Race to the Sky overall victory. He also scored four points in the 1988 World Rally Championship season and finished 4th in the 2001 Asia Pacific Rally championship for drivers.
On July 21, 2007, Tajima bested Rod Millen's thirteen year old course record at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in his Suzuki Sport XL7, becoming the fastest man in the history of the race, with a time of 10:01.41.