JANUARY 11, 2006
Toyota announces Young Drivers for 2006
Toyota has announced the six drivers which it will be supporting in 2006 as part of its young driver programme. France's Franck Perera remains with the scheme and will move up to GP2 this year, racing with DAMS. Kohei Hirate will continue in Formula 3 but will move to Manor Racing where he will line-up alongside another young Toyota hopeful Kazuki Nakajima, the son of former F1 driver Saturo Nakajima, who has been racing in Japanese Formula 3 with the TOM'S Toyota team in recent years. A third Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi, the reigning champion of both Formula Renault Italia and Eurocup, will join the ASM team, which has dominated the F3 Eurocup in recent years. There are two new signings for Toyota with Dutchman Henkie Waldschmidt and Englishman Martin Plowman, who will race in the Italian Formula Renault and Eurocup championship with Prema Powerteam.
"We cannot guarantee that any of the drivers in the TDP will become Formula 1 drivers," says Noritoshi Arai, who is in charge of the TDP from the Toyota Motorsport base in Cologne, Germany. "But one of the aims of the TDP is to seek out the next driving stars and to bring them up step-by-step to the racing series that most befits their talents. For 2006, we have Franck in GP2, Kamui, Kohei and Kazuki all in F3, and two rookies Henkie and Martin in Formula Renault. We will do all in our power to support them and give all racing fans around the world six extra reasons to support Toyota this season."
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