Katsuta has been fast-tracked by Toyota in the manufacturer’s quest to unearth a frontline WRC driver from Japan. Never seen without a smile but possessing resolve and purpose, 2021 marks his first full campaign in the WRC’s top flight.

The story so far

Katsuta began his motorsport career in karts. He made his debut aged 12 and was crowned Formula Challenge Japan (FCJ) champion at the age of 18.

He progressed to Japanese Formula 3 and secured second place in the series at the age of 20. It was during the 2014 Formula 3 season that he branched out into rallying, adding a campaign in the All Japan Rally Championship to his calendar and taking his first victory in the JN class.

His talent was noticed by Toyota, who in 2015 selected him to be part of its Toyota Gazoo Racing Challenge Programme for young drivers. Based in Europe, and training under the watchful eye of Tommi Mäkinen, Katsuta’s development included a variety of rallies in Finland and elsewhere in Europe.

He tackled WRC 2 in 2017 and 2018 in a Ford Fiesta R5 and scored a shock win at Rally Sweden. That was sufficient for Toyota to select him ahead of fellow programme driver Hiroki Arai for further development.

He bagged another WRC 2 win in Chile in 2019 and a top 10 finish in Germany on his Yaris World Rally Car debut. He tackled most of 2020’s shortened campaign in the headline category, guided by the experienced Dan Barritt. 

His potential earned him a full World Rally Car season in 2021, during which he will be under the watchful eye of former Toyota works driver Juho Hänninen.


The story so far