Kazuto Kotaka will focus on racing in Super Formula Lights with TOM’S this year after his 2021 programme with the team was truncated by being summoned to race in Super Formula.
The 22-year-old had one win from two seasons in SF Lights going into 2021, and was the highest placed returning driver in the series. However the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic meant he ended up racing in SF for KCMG for much of the year.
He was free to drive in SF Lights only in the season finale, where two podiums placed him straight into eighth in the standings. In SF he finished no higher than 14th, but he did score points in Super GT3000 as a stand-in driver there too.
His SF Lights team-mates this year will be fellow Toyota juniors and Japanese Formula 4 champions Hibiki Taira and Seita Nonaka.
Taira stepped up to SF Lights last year with TOM’S after winning the F4 title in 2020, and he came fifth in the standings after making the podium four times but missing a round.
Nonaka, who won last year’s F4 crown, ended up as Kotaka’s stand-in at TOM’S through 2021 and he claimed three podiums to be classified seventh in the championship. He has also been handed a 2022 Super GT3000 drive with Tsuchiya Engineering.
B-MAX Racing has announced two more drivers in its SF Lights line-up, with Dragon and Nobuharu Imada provisionally both moving across from the sister B-MAX Engineering line-up. Last year Imada came 10th overall and won the Masters classification, while team boss Dragon was 12th.
The pair will also race for the team in Japanese F4 this year, and Imada will even compete in Formula Regional Japanese Championship too. In that series his team-mate will be Takumi, who came 11th in 2021, while the Super License team will run former W Series racer Miki Koyama as a Toyota junior.
After just missing out on last year’s Japanese F4 title to Nonaka, and beating Iori Kimura who will also be stepping up to SF Lights, Rin Arakawa remains in F4 this year as a Toyota junior and will have three team-mates.
Two of them are graduates from the Japanese karting scene, Ryoma Henzan and Jin Nakamura, while the third is yet to be revealed.