Japanese hot prospect Yuki Tsunoda will begin his 2020 racing season with a title challenge in the Toyota Racing Series with M2 Competition.
The 2018 Japanese F4 champion is, like Kiwi team-mate, Liam Lawson, a member of the Red Bull Junior Team.
who is also part of the Honda Formula Dream Project, will join champions M2
Competition in a Red Bull-liveried car for the all-New Zealand championship in
the category’s new Tatuus-based 285bhp Toyota FT-60 racer.
From Kangawa in the Kanto region of Japan, Tsunoda began karting in 2010, initially in the JAF Junior Karting Championship, then moving to the regional class in 2013 and to the national class in 2014.
He started circuit
racing in 2016 in Japanese F4 and immediately impressed; claiming his first podium
with second on debut at Suzuka.
A full campaign in 2017 brought fourth in the points before his dominant 2018 season yielded eight pole positions, seven wins and the title. The Japanese F4 championship is regarded as one of the toughest junior series to win.
This season he has competed in FIA Formula 3 Championship and in the competitive Euroformula Open series; winning races in each category. Tsunoda’s team-mate in Euroformula has been Kiwi Liam Lawson – the 2019 TRS champion.
The Japanese ace is in no doubt about the strength of the competition. “I’m really looking forward to the new challenge. I think that the circuits will be completely different to Europe,” he said.
“I know that the competition will be tough, there are a lot of very good drivers and many of them know the circuits. At least I have already had the chance to try the car. I had a day at Paul Ricard with M2 driving the car I will use in New Zealand. It had a different engine but otherwise it was the same car and that was a very useful test.”
“It is different to the car we race in the FIA F3 series and the Euroformula so it was very good to have the track time. I also got to work with the M2 team and they were very friendly and professional, so that also makes me look forward to the New Zealand series.
“It will not be easy but I know that I must at least aim for consistent top-three finishes through the series. I am looking for the Superlicence points that I need for F1.”
championship will begin at Highlands Motorsport Park over the weekend of
January 17-19. It stays in the South Island for the second round a week later,
moving to Teretonga Park near Invercargill for round two.
The series then heads to the North Island for the remaining three weekends of racing. That will include the Denny Hulme Memorial Trophy at Hampton Downs, the New Zealand Motor Cup at Pukekohe and the final round, the New Zealand Grand Prix meeting over the weekend of February 14-16 at Manfeild.