Rising stars return from the land of the rising sun

Posted by | Posted in Latest News, Racing News | Posted on 30-08-2011

Last years 24hr squad

Topcats Racing are delighted to announce that their Japanese driver squad from last year’s Britcar 24hr race will be making a very welcome return to the team to challenge for the coveted title this year.
There will be one change to the driver line-up though, the fourth driver will be new to the team but certainly not new to 24hr racing. Yasushi Kikuchi replaces Toru Nakano who was the only British resident in the squad last year. He will be involved with the squad this year and continue his role to co-ordinate the participation of drivers from Japan into British motorsport. He will also take a representative role for the drivers and team as well as translator and radio man during the race weekend.
Yasushi Kikuchi has competed in no less than 9 Nurburgring 24hr races and the team hope that his experience will help to reinforce their efforts for the title this year.
Warren Gilbert, Team Principal for Topcats Racing commented, ‘ We are over the moon that the squad have chosen to come back and race with us again this year. We were completely blown away by them last year with their discipline, control and unbelievable performance under extremely adverse wet weather conditions. Bear in mind that apart from Toru, none of them had ever been to Europe or even turned a wheel in a race car in the wet and our entire communication had to be through a translator. They set a perfect example of how to be an endurance driver’.

Toru Nakano

Squad Manager, Toru Nakano gives us the low down, driver by driver:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Yasushi Kikuchi

Yasushi Kikuchi
Lives in: Tokyo, Japan
Racing History:
2000 Japanese Super Endurance Series Champion
Tsukuba Timeattack 2nd Fastest Time Holder (53.6secs in Revolution FD3S RX-7)
Raced in Nurburgring 24hrs 9 times since 2001
Interesting point: YAS is a professional racing driver in Japan with a lots of success in saloon car racing series and Tsukuba Timeattack events. But not just racing in Japan, YAS is a regular visitor to the famous Nurburgring 24hrs and he finished 20th overall in 2004 race. YAS also writes his columns in many motoring magazines in Japan and is known as a journalist of new car impressions and etc.
You can watch YAS’ Timeattack on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd-AnG3LYUg                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Masashi Kakiuchi

Masashi Kakiuchi
Lives in: Kobe, Japan
Racing History:
2006 Japan Le Man Challenge GT2 Class Winner
2010 MX5 Championship / AE86 Championship
2010 Britcar 24hrs Class3 10th (15th overall)
Interesting point: Masashi is a doctor and races more seriously than a hobby. He usually races MX5 and AE86 in Okayama in Japan. The highlight in his career is when he won 2006 Japan Le Man Challenge GT2 class on his international racing debut. He also did 2010 Dubai 24hrs with a Japanese squad Team 930 Rush. An overall sports-man, Masashi, is the most sure and intelligent racer in the team. On the other hand, he also is the mood maker of the team.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Ryu Seya

Ryu Seya
Lives in: Ashiya, Japan
Racing History:
2009-2010 MX5 Championship
2010 Britcar 24hrs Class3 10th (15th overall)
Interesting point:Ryu is a doctor, and is a regular MX5 racer in Okayama international circuit. He proved himself a quick learner by improving his racing results quite rapidly in his relatively short racing career. Until the Britcar 24 race last year, Ryu had never raced outside Japan. Following Topcats Racing team manager Warren’s advice, he is trying to upset his girl friend by playstationing the Silverstone GP circuit every night.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Yosuke Shimojima

Yosuke Shimojima
Lives in: Suzuka, Japan
Racing History:
1998 Winner in Formula Ford in Japan
1999-2010 Formula 3 / Japanese GT / Japan Le Man Challenge GT2 class winner
2010 Britcar 24hrs Class3 10th (15th overall)
Interesting Point: Yosuke has been one of the most successful racers in Japan. He has raced in Japanese Formula Ford, Formula 3, GT and other sports cars. His cool and calm character never makes us think of that he is a racing driver, but once he sits behind the wheel, he really is an aggressive and genuine super racer. Yosuke also has a degree on mechanical engineering, so you often see him mechanicing racing cars at Japanese circuits and his garage. He led a Japanese racing team as a leading driver in 2010 Dubai 24hrs race and contributed to the team to finish the race.

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