The World Touring Car Cup heads to Japan this weekend, but instead of the usual twenty-six cars, the grid at Suzuka will swell to twenty-nine.
First up, highly-experienced Hong Kong racer, Jim Ka To has teamed up with KC Motorgroup (KCMG), and will pilot one of their Honda Civic FK8 TCRs. The ex-Chinese Touring Car Championship racer has been competing in this car with the team in the Japanese Super Taikyu series, so will be very familiar with his surroundings.
“I’m very happy to have a chance to represent KC Motorgroup and to compete in the WTCR Race of Japan. I will use my experience of the car to try to get good results for the team,” he said.
It won’t be a one-off appearance for Jim and KCMG though. For the first time since the wildcard system was introduced, a wildcard will take part in more than just one event. As well as competing this weekend, Jim Ka To will also race at the prestigious Macau Grand Prix race which is next on the calendar.
In addition to the extra Honda, a pair of Audis will also take part in proceedings. Established Japanese Audi customer team, Team Hitotsuyama, will run two RS3 TCRs for Ritomo Miyata and Ryuichiro Tomita.
Hitotsuyama have been running a single car for Takuro Shinohara in the national TCR Japan Series all year, and have regularly raced Audi equipment in other championships such as Super GT since 2011.
They are therefore a well-experienced team, and should be relatively competitive. Miyata, in particular, is currently second place in the Japanese F3 championship, so clearly has the pace. Tomita, meanwhile, is a race winner in GT3 machinery and has been seeking advice from Audi stablemate, Frederic Vervisch.