TAKAMOTO KATSUTA

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, he demonstrated the ability to challenge for podiums during his first full campaign in the WRC’s top flight.

Nationality JAP
Date of Birth 17.03.1993
Birthplace Nagoya, Japan
First Rally 2016, Rally Finland
Rally Wins 0
Website facebook.com/TakamotoKatsutaOfficial

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, which 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 WRC2 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 WRC2 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. 

In 2021, Katsuta tackled a full World Rally Car season under the watchful eye of mentor and former Toyota works driver Juho Hänninen.  

He scored a career-best sixth at the first round in Monte-Carlo. Fourth-place results in Portugal and Italy were even more impressive, but he went even better in Kenya by netting his first podium with second.

A series of crashes spoiled the second half of the season and now with Aaron Johnston alongside, he will be searching for more consistency in 2022’s inaugural hybrid-powered FIA World Rally Championship season.

 

The story so far