In 2019, the RECARO RACING TEAM was launched. The building of the TOYOTA GAZOO 86/BRZ Race Professional Series team also began at that time. Two cars were entered, an 86 and a BRZ. The two drivers were Kota Sasaki, who has extensive racing experience and a proven track record, and Hiroki Arai, who made a unique debut in rally races. We also invited Juichi Wakisaka as a team producer to learn the basics of team building. The challenges of entering the pro class were far tougher than expected with its gathering of drivers active in Formula and Super GT, as well as specialists in one-make races. Unfavorable results continued.
In 2020, an experienced driver from the Subaru works team who had won this race, Takuto Iguchi, joined the team for its second season. To further strengthen the team, veteran driver Tetsuya Tanaka, who has strong ties to RECARO product development, joined the team at the same time. With three professional drivers, Tanaka, Sasaki, and Iguchi, the team entered three cars in the professional class, which is rare in this race. In the Tokachi event, Iguchi won the lead in a fierce battle, and successfully claimed the team's first victory, fulfilling the promise he made when he joined the team.
In 2021, the third year of the project, RECARO established a new system to implement team management in-house, as it was previously outsourced to an external racing factory. We have a great group of mechanics with a firm understanding of the direction the team is headed and who are willing to take on forthcoming challenges together. The third driver to join after Sasaki and Iguchi was Takashi Kogure, a long-time Honda ace who has reached the pinnacle of the Super GT500 series.
In 2022, the forth year, the race changed to GR86/BRZ Cup and the new model, new GR86 and new BRZ were launched. RECARO RACING TEAM participated with 4 race cars and drivers. The forth driver was Rintato Kubo who has became 2020 Series champion driver in this race. Fuji Subaru, who is the biggest SUBARU dealer in Japan continuously supported the team taking the roll of race car maintenance and technical support in the race. In addition, the manufacturer SUBARU also sent their staff to the team for technical support. Furthermore, students from university, Aichi Institute of Technology also joined our team to create videos for promotional use. We will continue to walk this challenging path with our wonderful staff, and believed that this activity leads us to the future of automotive industry and seats, or even sharpen our DNA.
In 2023, the fifth year, the team particpates GR86/BRZ Cup with one car only despite of driving 4 race cars in 2022. Takashi Kogure drives our race car. There were some strong points to compete with multiple race cars that allows us to gather valuable and competetive data, but also face difficulties to be the one team with many staffs. It is quite simple, one driver, one race car, and excellent team staffs. Fuji Subaru continues race car maintenance. We aim for the podium with gratitude to those who has supported us for this challenge.
Takashi Kogure is a professional driver with experience at the pinnacle of Japanese racing in Super GT and Formula. His experience and track record are top-notch. Above all, his approach to racing and way of thinking about things are on another level. Unlike top-category races with fine-tuned racing machines, these one-make competitions require driving techniques specific to production-based cars. For drivers who have reached the top of their game, it can be a bit unsettling. Kogure takes on these races with everything he’s got, showing the team his elite process and thinking. Takashi Kogure is a major catalyst for this team to grow stronger and reach the same stage as other great teams.
Fuji Subaru who is in charge of our race car maintenance since 2021. The first year, the just stored our race cars. The second year, they took the roll of race car maintenance. The third year, they improved their maintenace skills and maintained the best condition of race cars through the year. Staffs of their technical service center who manage human resource development and improvement of technical skills in the company works for the team. The all learn the importance of teamwork, time management, unique race mechanic skills, and so on. Now Fuji Subaru is an essential partner for the team to grow stronger.
Gentleman drivers, Toshihito Funai and Masahiro Ehara who have been participating at this race officially join our team in 2023.
This race is based on the concept of participatory motorsports. By learning about motorsports at the same time as competing with these gentleman drivers, we can understand more about how customers enjoy motorsports.
We will continue to walk this challenging path with these wonderful staff.
Motorsports give us the chance to meet a wide range of people and learn many things from them. Motorsports nurture people and teach us what makes cars so appealing.
And finally, motorsports create the future of cars and seats.
The RECARO RACING TEAM will continue to study and participate in motorsports activities in order to pass on the DNA of RECARO—the DNA it inherited from the company’s founding—to the future.