Challenge Program

Toyota GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge program aims to discover new young Japanese
drivers to become top level drivers in the FIA World Rally Championship.

About the program

The TGR WRC Challenge Program was established in 2015 ahead of Toyota’s return to the top level of the WRC. 

The goal for the selected drivers is comprehensive growth as an athlete and the ultimate target is for them to reach the professional level of international rallying and gain success in WRC. Besides that, the program will support young Japanese drivers in their personal growth and having a global mindset.

Takamoto Katsuta

1st Generation

Takamoto Katsuta joined the program as part of that initial selection and went on to achieve his first WRC podium in 2021 at the Safari Rally Kenya. He achieved two more podium finishes in 2022 (in Kenya and at Rally Japan) and has this year stepped up to be part of the main TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team line-up on selected events.

2nd Generation

In early 2022, three new drivers – Hikaru Kogure, Nao Otake and Yuki Yamamoto – were
selected and have since been competing in national and international rallies in Europe driving Rally4 cars.

Hikaru Kogure
Nao Otake
Yuki Yamamoto

3rd Generation

A third selection process for the TGR WRC Challenge Program will now be held over the remainder of 2023. The program looks forward to receiving applications from passionate young people who believe in their potential and are eager to take on new challenges.

The application period opens on June 27 th up to August 27 th.

The first 150 applicants will be invited to take part in qualification tests at Fuji Speedway in September. A handful of drivers will then be chosen to take part in the final training camp in Finland in December. A detailed audition schedule can be found below.

Selection process

Online application

The first 150 drivers who enter will be invited to the driving test.

Application period closes on Sunday 27 August at 12:00 PM (Japanese
time) or when 150 entries received.

Driving test at Fuji Speedway (Time trial)

The candidates’ basic driving skill and talent are measured in a driving test.

Performance in driving test is the selection criteria. Based on the driving test, a handful of drivers will be invited to the final qualifications in Finland.

Training camp in Finland

The candidates are tested thoroughly in driving, physical and mental tests.

The selection criteria are the candidates’ ability to learn and natural characteristics. The potential to become a professional rally driver matters more than the current level of skill.