Yoshiaki kinoshita handed le mans honour
The ACO announced the award today, adding Kinoshita san to a list of endurance racing's elite which includes Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, Gérard Larousse and Henri Pescarolo. It has been awarded since 2001 to participants who have epitomized the spirit of the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Kinoshita san's association with Le Mans dates back to the 1990s when he was an engineer on the TS010. More recently, he was a driving force behind TOYOTA's return to Le Mans in 2012, when the Japanese manufacturer made its World Endurance Championship debut at La Sarthe that year.His time as Team President culminated in TOYOTA winning the 2014 manufacturers' World Championship alongside the drivers' crown won by Anthony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi. In April this year he began a new assignment at TOYOTA TECHNOCRAFT Co. Ltd. in Japan.
He was succeeded as Team President by Toshio Sato who joined the whole team in saluting Kinoshita san's immense contribution to TOYOTA's motorsport heritage and the spirit of Le Mans.
Toshio Sato, Team President: "This team would not be where we are today - preparing for the 83rd Le Mans 24 Hours as reigning World Champions - without Kinoshita san's efforts. I have always been impressed by his passion for endurance racing, and particularly Le Mans he is a true racer. This award is very well deserved and I thank the ACO for honouring Kinoshita san in this way. On behalf of everyone in the team I offer our sincere congratulations to him and we look forward to seeing him here in Le Mans during race week."
About TOYOTA Racing in the World Endurance Championship:
TOYOTA first competed in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 1983, marking the start of a long period of participation in endurance racing. Since 1985, TOYOTA cars have raced in 16 Le Mans 24 Hours races, achieving a best result of second place on four occasions (1992, 1994, 1999 and 2013). TOYOTA entered the revived WEC in 2012, as TOYOTA Racing, with its first hybrid LMP1 car, the TS030 HYBRID, which won five of the 14 races it entered over two seasons. It was succeeded in 2014 by the four-wheel-drive TS040 HYBRID, which won its debut race and subsequently the 2014 drivers' and manufacturers' World Championships. They were designed and built by TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH (TMG), where the race team is based. TMG is the former home of TOYOTA's World Rally and Formula 1 works teams, and was responsible for design and operation of TOYOTA's TS020 Le Mans car in 1998-99. TMG now combines motorsport participation with work as a high-performance engineering services provider to third party companies, as well as the TOYOTA family.