Toyota's Miyata reveals Europe 'promise' with Fenestraz

Toyota driver Ritomo Miyata says he and Super GT team-mate Sacha Fenestraz have promised each other they will race together in Europe in the future, following the latter's departure from the Japanese scene.

Toyota's Miyata reveals Europe 'promise' with Fenestraz

This month's Motegi Super GT finale marked the end of a four-year stint racing in Japan for Fenestraz, who has signed a two-year deal to race for Nissan in Formula E starting next season.

The Franco-Argentine driver had initially hoped to combine his FE commitments with a partial campaign in either Super GT or Super Formula, but instead looks set to focus fully on his Nissan duties.

During his time in Japan, Fenestraz forged a close bond with Miyata, his main rival in his title-winning 2019 All-Japan Formula 3 season, and the two were able to share a car in Super GT this year driving for the TOM'S squad.

They won a race together at Fuji (pictured top) and ultimately finished sixth in the points, making them the second-highest Toyota crew.

Miyata says Fenestraz's switch to FE has only strengthened his determination to make an overseas move of his own in future.

"I'm sad [Fenestraz] is leaving Japan," Miyata told Autosport. "But I’m happy he got a seat in Formula E and I hope he can become world champion.

"I want to go there, also because I want to race in Europe together with Sacha. We promised each other we would fight together in Europe. So I hope he succeeds in Formula E, and I’ll try and go there."

 

When it was put to him that Toyota's lack of involvement in FE would make such a move difficult, Miyata replied: "I don’t know what will happen in the future… Toyota now is in WEC, but I am talking with Toyota about the future."

For his part, Fenestraz said he hopes Miyata can find his way into the European scene, but also didn't rule out the possibility of pairing up with Miyata again if he is able to return to Super Formula or Super GT in future.

"He’s a very talented driver, very quick," Fenestraz said of Miyata. "He’s very professional and I really hope he can find a drive in Europe.

"Hopefully we can fight on track or even be team-mates again in future, because it was a pleasure to race with him.

"We never know what the future brings; when I come back, if he is still here, we could be team-mates again. Let’s see."

Miyata takes step towards F1 superlicence

Last year, Miyata set himself the objective of earning enough points for a superlicence in F1, and the 10 points he earned with his fourth-place finish in Super Formula has put him a step closer to the 40-point requirement.

 

However, with the points earned from his Super Formula Lights title in 2020 expiring next year, he'll need to earn 30 points across his next two Super Formula campaigns to finally reach his target in 2024.

Miyata, who will continue to drive for TOM'S in Super Formula next year, said his main focus will be on improving his race performances after a season in which he was one of the strongest performers in qualifying.

"I wanted to finish in the top three, but considering I was 10th last year, it's still a big step forward," reflected Miyata. "There's a big difference between finishing fourth and sixth in terms of superlicence points. 

"I learned a lot this year, so I want to make use of that for next year. I wasn't able to win a race this year, but I often qualified in the first two rows, so my one-lap speed is good. I want to think about how to set up the car to be strong for the race.

"I'll give it everything to get a chance to race overseas as soon as possible."

Additional reporting by Kenichiro Ebii

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