Kamui Kobayashi began his career in motorsport in 1996 when he was nine years old – the Japanese driver finish third in his first season of karting in the SL Takarazuka Tournament Cadet Class. The following seven years, Kobayashi took four karting titles, winning the Toyota SL All Japan Tournament Cadet Class series twice.
In 2004, the Japanese driver signed up for Toyota’s Driver Academy and soon began his career in open wheel racing. Kobayashi’s next step was Formula Renault, entering the Asian, German, Italian and Dutch championships. The Japanese driver took two races victories in the Italian championship. Kobayashi continued his campaign in the Formula Renault class, entering the Italian and European championships and with six wins in both championships, the Japanese won both titles.
In 2006, Kobayashi entered the Formula Three Euroseries with ASM Formule 3 alongside Paul di Resta, Giedo van der Garde and Sebastian Vettel. He took three podium positions in his debut season, coming eighth in the Drivers’ Championship and first in the Rookie’s Championship. Kobayashi also entered the Macau Grand Prix and the Ultimate Masters of Formula 3, both of which are annual Formula Three events. Kobayashi started the latter in 10th place and finished the race a place lower in 11th while at the Macau Grand Prix, the Japanese started the race in Pole position, however h finished the race in 19th place.
At the beginning of 2007, Kobayashi, along with Kohei Hirate, was named as one of the Toyota Formula One team’s test drivers. The Japanese stayed in the F3 Euroseries for the upcoming season and had an impressive start to the season, taking two podiums in the first four rounds, and at the tenth round in Magny-Cours for the Formula One French Grand Prix Formula Three support race Kobayashi took his first race victory in Formula Three. Kobayashi finished fourth in the Drivers’ Championship.
On November 16, 2007, it was confirmed that Kobayashi will replace the departing Franck Montagny as the Toyota F1 team’s third driver.
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