After a first test on the Italian circuit of Vallelunga, Kamui Kobayashi made his first appearance as a Ferrari driver in the official testing for the FIA World Endurance Championship, which took place on the 29th and 30th March .
After three seasons of Formula 1 Grand Prix and sixty races, a new story began for Kamui, Kobayashi and with a very special status:. At the age of 26, he is the first Asian to become an official Ferrari driver. It was in a Toyota that he made his F1 appearance at the end of the 2009 season. But the Japanese manufacturer decided to leave Grand Prix and turned to endurance racing, Kobayashi joined Sauber for three full seasons. In 2011 and 2012, the Swiss manufacturer (that also has a victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1989, at that time a partner of Mercedes) is powered by Ferrari, and the Japanese driver scored his first podium in 2012, the third place finish did not escaped the attention of Amato Ferrari, who recruited him for the FIA World Endurance Championship 2013.
AF Corse are 2012 title holders of LM GTE Pro both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the World Championship, so Kamui Kobayashi will be one of the front runners in this class. As we know, with the intense interest in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in Japan, there is no doubt that the results of Kamui Kobayashi will be closely followed, as well as those of Kazuki Nakajima, official driver for Toyota in the LMP1 class. They could both soon be adding their names to the prestigious winners roster of La Sarthe in 2013 or in the near future.
Masanori Sekiya and Seiji Ara are the only two Japanese drivers have won the 24 Hours of Le Mans: the former in 1995 with McLaren F1 GTR accompanied by Yannick Dalmas and JJ Lehto, the latter in 2004 in an Audi R8 with Tom Kristensen and JJ Lehto . Mazda is still the only Japanese manufacturer to have won in La Sarthe, in 1991 with Bertrand Gachot, Johnny Herbert and Volker Weidler.
In this video, Kamui Kobayashi is interviewed during official testing for FIA Workd Endurance Championsip
Commentary in English
Jean-Philippe Doret - ACO