WRC CHALLENGE PROGRAM 2022 DRIVER
Takamoto Katsuta, who is currently competing in the WRC top category, is the first generation of the program, started in 2015. He is contesting in all rounds of the 2022 WRC in TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team Next Generation. He is still learning and continues to develop through his WRC challenge.
In 2022, Nao Otake, Hikaru Kogure, and Yuki Yamamoto were selected as the second generation. These three start the training in Finland from April, 2022 toward their aim to become WRC drivers in the future.
1ST GENERATION: Takamoto Katsuta
Born in Aichi, Japan on March 17, 1993. Katsuta drove in his first kart race at the age of 11 and at age 18 he won the Formula Challenge Japan (FCJ). He placed second in the F3 series at age 20, and in 2014 in addition to competing in F3 he notched his first JN5 class win in the eighth round of the Japanese Rally Championship. The following year he began contesting rallies in Europe, and in 2018 he won Rally Sweden, the second round of World Rally Championship, in the WRC2 class. In 2019 he won WRC2 on Rally Chile, and he claimed two wins in the Finnish Rally Championship before starting his first WRC events in a Toyota Yaris WRC in Germany and Spain. In 2020 he competed in five WRC events, and won the season-ending Power Stage at Rally Monza. During 2021 he claimed six top-six finishes from the first six events, culminating in a maiden podium with second place at Safari Rally Kenya.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team Next Generation
- Jari-Matti Latvala Supervisor
- Kaj Lindström Program Management
- Juho Hänninen Instructor
Nao Otake, Hikaru Kogure, Yuki Yamamoto
Born in Osaka, Japan on 21 June 2000.
He began practicing on dirt tracks from the age of 14 and at 17 he joined the Nutahara Rally School junior team of multiple Japanese Rally Champion Fumio Nutahara.
He started rallying competitively aged 18 and in 2021 he won the Japanese Rally Championship JN3 class title with three victories.
Born in Gunma, Japan on 19 April 2001.
He started karting in 2006 and raced extensively until 2017. He made his rallying debut in 2020 in the TRD Rally Cup.
In 2021 he competed in the JAF East Japanese Rally Championship in the BC2 class, winning round two and finishing second in the standings.
Born in Hyogo, Japan on 23 February 1997.
He started rallying in 2018 at the age of 21 in the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge.
In 2021 he took part in the final two rounds of the Japanese Rally Championship and scored two wins in the JN6 class.
- Mikko Hirvonen
- Jouni Ampuja
- Juho Hänninen