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Super GT Points Leader Yamashita’s Debut Confirmed

Toyota to evaluate 23-year-old Kenta Yamashita through his WEC debut season in 2019-20…

Photo: Toyota

Super GT points leader Kenta Yamashita has been confirmed at High Class Racing for the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship.

The 23-year-old was already linked to the program after his initials appeared on the Danish LMP2 squad’s new livery revealed earlier this week.

Yamashita, who drives for Lexus in his native Japan, will enter the upcoming season as part of the Toyota Gazoo Racing WEC Challenge program for young drivers.

A statement from the LMP1 and future Hypercar manufacturer said that it plans to “follow Kenta’s progress closely” as it evaluates potential future drivers for its WEC involvement.

“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, who competes in both Super GT and Super Formula.

“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 finished second in Japanese Formula 3 as a teenager in 2014 and 2015 before winning the series at the third attempt in 2016.

He went on to secure his first GT300 class victory in Super GT, along with his Super Formula debut, in the 2017 season and spent last year juggling his single-seater commitments with a program in the top GT500 class.

Yamashita currently shares a Lexus LC500 with Kazuya Oshima and the pair lead the GT500 standings after winning the most recent round at Buriram.

In Super Formula, Yamashita drives for Kondo Racing where his teammate is one-time Toyota LMP1 driver Yuji Kunimoto. He also competes against two of the marque’s regulars in Kamui Kobayashi and Kazuki Nakajima.

His co-drivers for the upcoming WEC season, which includes the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans, will be Danish racer Anders Fjordbach and experienced South African Mark Patterson.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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