Miyata has been offered a chance to race in Europe following a stellar domestic season in 2023 in which he became only the fifth driver to win titles in both Super Formula and SUPER GT in the same calendar year - and by far the youngest to do so.
The 24-year-old also impressed Toyota’s Hypercar squad as part of his role as a ‘WEC Challenge Driver’, although he missed out on an opportunity to test the championship-winning GR010 HYBRID in the Bahrain rookie test due to a clash with the SUPER GT finale at Motegi.
The opportunity to race in both F2 and ELMS in 2024 is aimed at preparing him further for a possible graduation into a Hypercar seat, likely when Kamui Kobayashi eventually hangs up his helmet to focus fully on being the squad’s team principal.
“First of all, I want to express my sincere gratitude to 'Morizo' [Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda] and everyone at TGR for giving me the opportunity to drive in FIA F2 and ELMS,” said Miyata.
“I have been selected as a training driver for the WEC Challenge Program starting in 2023, which has given me more opportunities to travel to Europe with the team and participate in Hypercar simulator tests with TGR-E.
“Everyone has been very supportive of my desire to be active worldwide.“I am also very honored to have been chosen as a reserve driver for the TGR-WEC team. I’m thrilled that such an opportunity has come my way.
“I would like to thank Morizo, President [Koji] Sato, and everyone at TGR for giving me this opportunity, as well as everyone on the European team.”
Photo by: Masahide Kamio
Ritomo Miyata, VANTELIN TEAM TOM’S
Miyata will drive for Cool Racing in ELMS, but his exact team for F2 is yet to be revealed.
Scheduling conflicts with Super Formula and SUPER GT mean he won’t be returning to Japan next year to defend either of his titles.
Initially, Miyata was expected to continue with TOM’S in Super Formula next year and combine that drive with a programme in WEC’s new LMGT3 class with Lexus.
However, he will instead ply his trade in F2, with Toyota explaining that Ryo Hirakawa’s signing as a Formula 1 reserve for McLaren played a role in Miyata being diverted to the grand prix racing ladder.
The Japanese driver will also race in the ELMS instead of the WEC, and although the exact class in which he will race is yet to be revealed, it opens the prospect of racing in LMP2 instead of GT machinery.
While Toyota’s training programme was initially focused on the WEC, it will now be opened up to include a wide variety of categories. As part of this shift, Toyota WEC Challenge will be rechristened as the TGR Global Driver Challenge Program (TGR-G-DC).Read Also:De Vries replaces Lopez in Toyota's WEC 2024 line-upRovanpera to contest partial WRC season in unchanged 2024 Toyota line-up
Kazuki Nakajima, Vice Chairman of Toyota’s WEC squad, said: “As the WEC Challenge Program has been selecting training drivers since last year and planning Miyata's activities for 2024, I am happy that these opportunities for F2 and ELMS were made possible, and I would like to thank all those involved.
“In particular, his participation in F2 was made possible by Morizo's encouragement and support of Hirakawa's opportunity to become a McLaren reserve driver along with Miyata’s own achievements in 2023.
“This is a great opportunity for Miyata to gain experience in both formula and endurance racing and will open up many possibilities beyond that, depending on how hard he works.
“The name of the training programme will be changed from 'TGR WEC Challenge Program' to 'TGR Global Driver Challenge Program,' which I think is incredibly significant.
“We must make this programme open up various opportunities.”
There is one clash between F2 and ELMS in 2024, with the former’s visit to Silverstone in July falling on the same weekend as the 4 Hours of Imola.2023-11-20T10:07:29Z dg43tfdfdgfd