Japanese racer Kenta Yamashita is to take part in the FIA World Endurance Championship, as part of Toyota Gazoo Racing’s WEC Challenge programme. Yamashita follows in the footsteps of Toyota Young Drivers Programme colleagues Kazuki Nakajima and Kamui Kobayashi, both now well-established members of Toyota Gazoo Racing’s championship-winning team.

Yamashita, 23, will join High Class Racing to compete in the LMP2 category in the 2019-2020 WEC season, including the Le Mans 24 Hours. His team-mates will be Anders Fjordbach, from Denmark, and the American Mark Patterson.

Yamashita made a promising start to his career in his native Japan, where he won the national Formula 3 competition in 2016 and currently leads the highly competitive Super GT series with Lexus Team Le Mans Wako’s, taking victory in the most recent race, at Buriram in Thailand.

The step up to the WEC will be significant in Yamashita’s development as a driver, introducing him to a different kind of race car and to international circuits where has little previous experience. Toyota Gazoo Racing will follow his progress closely as they evaluate potential future drivers for its WEC programme.

Yamashita said: “I am very excited to be racing in WEC and LMP2 for the first time and I thank Toyota Gazoo Racing and High Class Racing for this opportunity. There are so many legendary circuits on the WEC calendar and plenty of tough competitors in the LMP2 class, so it will be a challenging experience. There is a lot for me to learn and I am sure the team will help me a lot.”

Kenta Yamashita profile and career history

Born                3 August 1995, Chiba, Japan

2012 Super FJ 1st
2013 Formula Challenge Japan 1st
2014 Japanese Formula 3 (TOM’S) 2nd (2 wins)
2015 Japanese Formula 3 (TOM’S) 2nd (5 wins)
Super GT (Porsche Team KTR) 20th 
2016 Japanese Formula 3 (TOM’S) 1st (7 wins)
2017 Super GT GT300 (Team Tsuchiya) 5th (1 win)
Super Formula (Kondo Racing) 11th
2018 Super GT (Lexus Team Bandoh) 11th
Super Formula (Kondo Racing) 9th



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  • Kenta Yamashita has joined Toyota Gazoo Racing's WEC Challenge Programme.

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