15 Nov 17
Kamui Kobayashi needs no introduction in the world of single-seater motorsport. Fresh from the FIA World Endurance Championship and Super Formula series, the seasoned Japanese driver will embark upon a new chapter in his racing career, making his debut in the all-electric FIA Formula E Championship at the double-header Season Four opener in Hong Kong on December 2 and 3 2017.
Piloting the No. 27 car in both races, the Japanese driver has been tasked with getting the team off to a solid start on the Hong Kong alongside teammate and veteran Formula E driver Antonio Felix da Costa. This will be the team's first driver change after announcing the appointment of Tom Blomqvist earlier in the year.
With a racing career dating back to 1996, when he started out in karting at just nine years old, Kobayashi has a wealth of experience behind the wheel. After graduating to the world of Formula One in 2007, after he was announced as the Toyota F1 team's test and reserve driver for the 2008 and 2009 seasons, the Japanese driver clocked up a total of 76 race starts between 2009 and 2014. Moving on to the competitive world of endurance racing, Kobayashi represented Toyota Gazoo Racing in the LMP1 category - the pinnacle of the World Endurance Championship.
With a valuable mix of experience gained in both single-seaters and hybrid-engined LMP1 cars, Kobayashi may be quick to adapt to all-electric racing. That said, having previously raced without much success in the Macau Grand Prix - one of the most challenging street circuits outside of Formula E - the Japanese driver could find the streets of Hong Kong a tall order, especially considering he'll be going into the race weekend without testing.
"[It won't be] an easy thing to be honest, but the team has been giving me all the support," assures Kobayashi. While the Japanese driver chimes well with the team's main sponsor, Japanese insurance giant MS&AD, Adrian Britten, Director of Brand & Communications for the company hopes the pairing will also "encourage a future Formula E race in Japan.”
"To partner one of the largest companies in Japan, MS&AD Insurance, with one of the most popular Japanese racing drivers, will be exciting to see," says Andretti Formula E CEO Michael Andretti. "“He has shown what he can do in both Formula One and WEC, making Formula E a perfect next step."
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