OSAKA, Japan (March 24, 2014) — Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. has a new drift racing team ready to compete in the 2014 D1 Grand Prix Series (D1GP), and it will feature its first female driver.
The series, sponsored by D1 Corp., kicks off on March 29 at Japan's Fuji Speedway. The Toyo team will compete in six events at five venues throughout Japan and, the tire maker said, will aim for a second consecutive series championship.
The newly formed team has added the support of Trust Corp., according to Toyo, with Masato Kawabata, its top driver and last year's season champion, behind the wheel of a Nissan GT-R. He will be joined by Michie Mimoto, the team's first female driver and the 2013 D1 Ladies League Series Champion. Rounding out the team of six racers are Tatsuya Sakuma, who finished the 2013 series with a third-place ranking; Akinori Utsumi, who ranked fifth in 2013; Yoshifumi Tadokoro, the 18th-place finisher in 2013; and Seimi Tanaka, ranking 22nd last year.