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. So far he has achieved five podiums in his WRC career.


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



  • Born: 23 December 1999
  • From: Hyogo, Japan
  • Co-driver: Pekka Kelander
  • Fun fact: Started one rally in Japan before moving to Finland


4th Generation

With TGR looking to give chances to as many drivers as possible, another selection process will be held over the rest of 2024 for a fourth generation of drivers to join the Program. The application period opens on July 1 and the first 100 applicants will be invited to take part in qualification tests at Fuji Speedway in October. A handful of drivers will then be chosen to take part in the final training camp in Finland in December.

This year there will also be a selection for co-drivers to join the Program. For this, candidates will be chosen to undergo remote interviews, with a final selection taking place at the end of October.

Selection process for drivers

Online application

The first 100 drivers who enter will be invited to the driving test.

Application period closes on Friday 16th August at 17:00 PM (Japan time) or when 100 entries received.

Driving test at Fuji Speedway (Time trial)

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

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.

Selection process for CO-drivers

Online application

Registration through online form.

No limitation for the number of candidates.

Document screening and online interview

TGR-WRT instructors will go through the applications thoroughly and decides the candidates to proceed to an on-line interview.

Final selection

Handful of candidates will be invited to the final selection in Japan.

TGR-WRT instructors will evaluate each candidate through pacenote reading skills, learning skills, and other related aspects.

Challenge Program News

NewsRally2WRC Challenge Program

Yamamoto gets up to speed on fast gravel in Estonia

NewsWRC Challenge Program

Japanese rally rookies complete their Finnish debut

NewsRally2WRC Challenge Program

Rocky road for Yamamoto and Kogure in Sardinia

TGR WRC challenge program partners