The incredible Juju Noda, breaking records, debut victories and now embarking on a new adventure to the United States to compete in F4. At only 15 years of age, she has a stellar track record so far, but is still hungry for more. The daughter of former F1 driver Hideki Noda, Juju Noda has a solid family background in racing and with their support, she aims to climb to the pinnacle of motorsport. The Japanese driver shared with team DIVEBOMB about her career and future plans for 2021.
Written by Bruna Brito, Edited by Daniel Yi
Photo by Juju (juju-driver.com)
– You started your career at a very young age, only 3 years old. What are your first memories on track, competing in go-karting?
I remember that I used to race together with other kids and play together with them. It was very fun, but I really didn’t want to lose any races.
– Your dad certainly is your greatest inspiration. What is the biggest lesson he has taught you, or any advice that he gave you, that you consider your motto?
He gave me the opportunity to have many experiences that usually are very difficult to have. Most importantly, he didn’t force me on anything; he waited until I realised what it was that I wanted to do. That is his biggest lesson to me, because usually people want to tell you what to do.
Juju receives instructions from her father Hideki Noda, a former driver competing in three F1 races in 1994 – Photo: Noda Racing
– At just 9 years old, you were the youngest person to make a debut in F4, what was that experience like? Did you realize how great this achievement was?
I really enjoyed driving a formula car at age 9. But I was doing my own thing, just as I am now. In that sense, things haven’t changed that much. I focus mainly on my own work.
– Usually in the categories you are the only girl competing. Have you faced any prejudice? Do you feel any pressure to prove your worth on the track? Or just do your thing and let the results speak for themselves?
If you listen to everything people say and look at what others do, you will start losing yourself and losing confidence. I am just me and the best thing to do is to focus on my own things. I know there is quite a bit of attention on me, and it’s good that people are positive about it.
– Among all the surprising records, was there one that was the most special?
Breaking the F4 and F3 National class lap record of Okayama International Circuit, and also completing my debut race in Europe winning from Pole Position.
– In general, how do you look to prepare for a season? Besides training, what are your favorite activities and hobbies? Do you seek to reconcile them with your routine?
It is quite hard to organize to move from Europe to the USA for the upcoming season. You have to change everything around you and you need to organize everything from scratch. I don’t have any time at all to spend on hobbies. So honestly, I must say what I do is trying the best I can to be prepared.
– How do you feel about representing Japan? And carrying your country flag on podium and races?
I am just doing my own things and I never really thought too much about representing or carrying Japan.
– What are your memories of your season in F3, with victory in all races?
It is great to drive and race in front of fans. And being away from my home race, I miss that atmosphere. It was very different in Denmark as well, because in 2020 fans were not allowed into the circuits.
– How is the progress for the F4 season in the United States? What are your expectations?
I don’t have my own car yet and we’re still organizing and building up the team. It will be a tough season because everywhere I go is really new to me and I have to learn everything again.
– What is your biggest career dream?
In terms of motorsport, I want to win any kind of major races. Outside of racing, I would like to make an animal shelter.
– Would you like to leave a message for your fans and admirers?
I really appreciate all your support. It gives me a boost and the will to continue fighting!
– Is there anything special you would like to say to girls who are inspired by you and dream of being great women in motorsport?
You need to try your best and never give up even if you lose.
Check out another interview we at DIVEBOMB did with Clemens Schmidt, here.