Why a driver twice rejected by Toyota can have the last laugh
Passed over for an F1 shot with Toyota in favour of two drivers he beat in 2006, Kohei Hirate rebuilt his career with the marque in Japan - only to be pushed aside again after winning his second SUPER GT title. Now he's out to prove the Toyota bosses wrong with Nissan
Rejection is an inevitable part of almost every racing driver’s career, whether it’s from sponsors, teams or manufacturers. Few are the drivers that are blessed with the backing and prodigious talent needed to ascend the single-seater ladder all the way from karting to Formula 1 (or their desired career destination) without ever being told ‘no’.
But for two-time SUPER GT champion Kohei Hirate, rejection by the same organisation on two occasions – a decade apart – has pretty much defined a career which can be neatly split into three chapters, each separated by some puzzling Toyota decision-making.
Okayama Super GT: Yamashita beats Tsuboi in opener
Fuji Super GT: Real Racing Honda holds on to win after late drama