Kamui Kobayashi , former F1 driver of Toyota Endurance Racing and former F1 driver of Toyota F1, is set to make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut with 23XI Racing. His entry into the series was revealed during the 2023 24 Hours of LeMans where NASCAR had a special entry behind the wheel with Jimmie Johnson.
Kobayashi is only the second driver in his country, after Hideo Fujiyama, to compete in the Cup Series. He will be racing the No:67 Toyota Camry at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Race. The 2023 Daytona 500 saw the autocross legend Travis Pastrana drive the same car and have an impressive outing. It is expected that the car will be used by Kurt Busch for his Cup Series return.
We are excited to be able to support Kamui as he makes his NASCAR Cup Series debut in Indianapolis. We will also field a competitive Toyota in the race. The race in Indianapolis will be a fantastic opportunity for 23XI Racing to learn from and compete against a very accomplished driver.
“Earlier in the year, the No. We are looking forward to a similar performance with Kamui. We’re also looking forward to introducing Kamui’s many international fans, to 23XI and to our sport,” added Lauletta.
The 36-year old driver competes correctly in both the WEC Championship and Japanese Super Formula Championships. Toyota Racing Academy’s product has competed in 75 F1 events and achieved podium finishes. Before pursuing his current career, the three-time podium finisher at Le Mans raced in Formula E as well as IMSA Championship. He has won the Daytona Rolex 24 twice.
Kamui’s childhood goal was to race in NASCAR
Kamui revealed that his first race was a NASCAR in an oval. Since then, this has been a dream of his. He claimed he had never heard of F1, the sport where he first made his name when he began Karting.
“In fact, my memory is that the first race I saw on TV was NASCAR. When I was four or five. “Wow, that’s awesome!” I thought. And when I first raced in a go-kart I honestly didn’t even know what Formula 1 was. When I think back, I can remember that I watched a NASCAR because it was on an oval. “I remember the highlight of my childhood, when I thought that one day, to race in NASCAR would be my dream,” Kobayashi recalled.
Kobayashi said that IRC was not his first choice for a Cup debut. He had always wanted to race on an oval, as he envisioned. Kobayashi stated that due to his WEC and Super Formula schedule, IRC was the only option. He chose this race as his debut.
“I’m still racing in WEC, and I also do the Super Formula in Japan. So finding no conflicting schedules for a race in NASCAR can be quite difficult. We also need a lead-in period to do a simulator, a seat-fitting and a couple of test sessions, which I believe makes it impossible to race on any other track. The only track we can find is IndyCar,” Kobayashi said.