Current Super GT points leader Kenta Yamashita will make his FIA World Endurance Championship debut in the upcoming 2019/20 season after signing with Danish LMP2 team High Class Racing.
The 24-year-old is a member of Toyota’s Young Driver Program, and has a glowing CV from his time spent racing in Japan including a Japanese F3 title and podiums in every series he has competed in. He also has race wins in both the GT300 and GT500 classes of the ultra-competitive Super GT Championship, and currently leads the 2019 standings after a win with Lexus Team Le Mans Wako’s last time out in Buriram.
He will join Danish driver Anders Fjordbach and gentlemen driver Mark Patterson in High Class’ ORECA 07 Gibson for what will also be the Danish team’s maiden WEC campaign.
This move by Toyota could be a significant one down the line for its WEC program. The Japanese brand said it will “follow Kenta’s progress closely as it evaluates potential future drivers for its WEC program.”
“I am very excited to be racing in WEC and LMP2 for the first time; thanks to Toyota Gazoo Racing and High Class Racing for this opportunity,” said Yamashita.
“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. Now I can’t wait for testing to begin so I can prepare myself for an exciting season.”
Yamashita will make his public debut with the team during the pre-season WEC Prologue test next week at Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya.
“We’re very excited to have this young hot property in the car,” team manager Peter Utoft said.
“Kenta’s results speak for themselves, as he comes to us with an amazing CV that features a Japanese Formula 3 title and wins in Super GT. We’re proud to have been chosen by Toyota to help build his career to get him to the top level of sports cars.
“He will drive the car for the first time next week. We look forward to seeing what he can do.”