We sat down with Marino Sato to discuss the Virtuosi Racing driver’s greatest influences. The Japanese racer looked back over the people who have inspired and had an impact on him throughout his fledging motorsport career.


“Vincenzo Sospiri was my team boss when I raced in Italian Formula 3. He won Formula 3000 with Super Nova Racing in 1995 and briefly raced in Formula 1, although he didn’t really get a proper run.

“Italian F4 was my first step into car racing from go-karting and he taught me a lot: technically, mentally, in every way. He would also always tell me stories from his time racing. I would say that he has been one of my mentors.

“I still see him now. My physio is based in Italy in the same town as Vincenzo Sospiri’s team, so I catch up with him whenever I go there.”

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“Shohei Ohtani is a Japanese Baseball player, who is playing in America, in Major League Baseball. Baseball is one of the biggest sports in Japan, so it is really cool to watch a Japanese player in America – he almost won the most home runs last year, which would have been great.

“What is impressive about him, is that he is a pitcher, but he can also hit home runs. He can do both, and not just well, but great.”

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“Me and my dad started racing together and ever since day one, he has been supporting me more than I could have ever imagined. His commitment and the sacrifices he has made for me are incredible and I have huge respect for him, not only as my dad but as a human. What he has done for me is amazing.”