Challenge Program

About the program

The TGR WRC Challenge Program was established in 2015 ahead of Toyota’s return to the top level of the WRC to identify and nurture talented young Japanese rally drivers.

Under the guidance of our experienced TGR-WRT instructors in Finland, drivers receive comprehensive training that is focused not only on driving skills but also the art of making pacenotes as well as physical and mental training. They also gather experience by participating in rallies on a variety of different roads across Europe.

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 supports young Japanese drivers in their personal growth and having a global mindset.

Takamoto Katsuta

1st Generation

Takamoto Katsuta joined the program as part of the very first selection in 2015. From minimal rally experience, he went on to achieve his first WRC podium in 2021 at the Safari Rally Kenya. Having scored further podiums on rallies from Japan to Finland, Taka has now earned his place in our main TGR-WRT line-up, realising his dreams and the original aim of the program.


  • Born: 19 April 2001
  • From: Gunma, Japan
  • Co-driver: Topi Luhtinen
  • Fun fact: Raced karts before turning to rallying


Mikko Hirvonen, Takumi Matsushita, Shotaro Goto, Jouni Ampuja

3rd Generation

The third selection process for the TGR WRC Challenge Program began in September 2023 at Fuji Speedway in Japan where more than 70 applicants were given the chance to demonstrate their skills behind the wheel. Our TGR-WRT instructors selected six drivers who would advance to the final training camp in Finnish Lapland in December.

Despite their limited prior experience, particularly driving on snow and ice, the finalists made a strong positive impression on the instructors and two drivers, Shotaro Goto and Takumi Matsushita, were chosen to join the program. Both are at the very beginning of their rally careers and their development will accelerate in 2024 with a comprehensive training schedule focused on driving, pacenotes and fitness. The goal will be for them to start competing in national rallies in Finland and Europe from the summer onwards in Rally4 cars.

Challenge Program News

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Yamamoto and Kogure show speed on snow

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Japanese drivers make WRC2 debuts in Sweden

NewsRally2WRC Challenge Program

Kogure and Yamamoto begin their Rally2 challenge