Meet the 14-Year-Old Japanese Racing Prodigy Aiming to Be the 1st Female F1 Champion
Juju Noda is already aiming to become among the best racing stars in the world at 14 years old.
The racing prodigy, who started breaking Formula 4 records before her teens, has set her sights on becoming the first female F1 champion.
Born in 2006, her exposure to fast cars and cheering crowds came early with some inspiration from her father, former Formula 1 and IndyCar driver Hideki Noda.
At age three, she had already been kart racing and won her debut in the kart racing beginner class the following year. She became champion in the 30cc and 40cc classes a year later.
In 2016, she became the world’s first elementary-school student to run an F4 car in her FIA Formula 4 debut at the Okayama International Circuit.
She further captured everyone’s attention at Okayama International Circuit in 2018 by setting the lap record for FIA Formula 4 machinery. Finishing with 1 minute, 32.8 seconds, she set a time almost a second faster than the previous best. She also got to drive a Formula 3 car that year.
Last year, she competed with much older racers at the 2019 Lucas Oil Winter Race Series and managed to finish the season in 14th position, according to Driver Database.
In an interview with Forbes in 2017, Juju’s dad explained the young racer’s uncanny ability to feel the limits of her car.
“She has the ability to feel the limits of her race car, and the adhesion limits of the tires,” Hideki said. “That’s critical and it’s not something you can teach someone. She was born with it. When Juju feels she’s on the limit, she will back off but still stay focused and relaxed and fast.”
Just a few weeks ago, Juju showcased her skills in her first-ever race on European soil with a victory at the Danish Formula 4 Championship.
Her accomplishments have endeared her to many in the international racing scene, with racing pundits seeing her as a future Formula 1 star, reports Behind the Helmet.
Some are now comparing her to Max Verstappen, the youngest race winner in F1 history at 18 years old, with his victory at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix (5th round of the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship).
Currently competing in the F4 Danish Championship under Noda Racing, Juju was disqualified from the second race of the season due to a tire issue.
While she finished third, she was excluded from the results for “using unregistered tires.”
The first leg of the season held at Jyllandsringen, Silkeborg ended in June with Noda Racing at second place with 37 overall points, behind Team FSP’s 169. The 2020 F4 Danish Championship is expected to conclude in October.
Enjoying the Ride
To compete in the F4 Danish Championship, Juju moved to Denmark earlier this year after turning 14, which already meets the minimum age restrictions for formal motorsport competitions.
With four races remaining in the series, the teen racer is enjoying the experience despite some challenges.
“I think we are doing well but sometimes it’s difficult because we don’t know many people here and we don’t know the language,” Noda told Formula Scout. “I also miss my friends! But racing is just as fun as everywhere else!”
Feature Image via Noda Racing