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Toyota Racing – NCS Chicago Quotes – Kamui Kobayashi – 07.01.23

Toyota Racing – Kamui Kobayashi
NASCAR Cup Series Quotes

CHICAGO (July 1, 2023) – 23XI Racing driver Kamui Kobayashi, who will compete at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course in August, was made available to media prior to the NASCAR Cup Series event at the Chicago Street Race on Saturday:


What has your experience been like shadowing the 23XI Racing team here in Chicago?

“Hello everyone. Good morning. I’m really looking forward to the Indy race. I’m obviously coming here to run through everything with the team on race week. This is a street circuit, which is the first time in NASCAR. Obviously, I think I can probably help with my experience on a street circuit as well. I think it looks quite challenging. I did the track walk this morning and obviously I think by looking I’ve never seen such a challenging circuit in the street like this. I think like the open wheel car you have to have the same surface on the track, but here it’s not the same asphalt as a usual track so it’s looking quite challenging. I think it will get more attention in NASCAR than other races. I’m looking forward to watching the race this week.”

Will you be watching tomorrow’s race with the 23XI Racing team?


Have you been able to give the 23XI team any tips or tricks about street course racing?

“I just talked to Tyler (Reddick) about how you – in terms of braking with the new surface and the bump. Just as I said, it’s an unknown before, but it’s most important when you’re at a new track, a city circuit – the track evolution is quite high so it’s an adjustment. You have to come out with other guys running. When other guys are running there’s more increasing grip. Obviously, if you go out of line there’s less grip so it’s going to be most important during the session and maybe during the race as well. Obviously, the other part is when I looked at this (track), it’s so challenging. To survive, I think is one of the things that’s very important. Especially when I looked at the weather forecast, it looks like a lot of risk of rain as well. I think for everyone it’s not an easy situation, but it will be a nice show.”

With your experience in open wheel racing, is it better to have fenders in racing conditions like we’re seeing at this street circuit?

“Actually, you cannot really race open wheel at this track because of the bump and even the holes, which there are quite a lot. Obviously, when we are racing open wheel, I think how you create downforce is obviously different so that’s even a bit too much when you look. But obviously it’s NASCAR racing here, and it should be fine in terms of the hole and in terms of the bump. I think this makes it more challenging for the drivers, but I think this gives more of a chance for the driver to make a difference probably. We’ll see how it goes, but for sure the track evolution and when they drive on the track will give us more confidence as a driver. There’s not a lot of running in NASCAR so I’m quite curious how much they pick up on the track.”

We saw you talking to Jenson Button prior to the track walk. Does the new generation race car make NASCAR more intriguing right now?

“Even with Jenson (Button), we did race the Super GT. I think we raced exactly the same year because I only raced one year in Super GT and that’s the year that Jenson came to Japan to race Super GT. Somehow, I think we had quite a lot of time racing together and in endurance races as well. I think when we talked about this kind of new experience, he knew exactly where we come from so, we were talking about how different between when you come from open wheel to stock cars. The car is definitely heavier and how you manage and how you find the limit, I think that makes it really different. I just had an experience in the simulator and that gives me a little idea in terms of NASCAR and how you drive. We were describing to each other how we feel and actually I think we feel the quite the same coming from open wheel to NASCAR. I think the first thing is the weight and it makes it so, so different compared to other (cars). We were talking about the brakes, because the brake pedal is okay but just by the weight, the car doesn’t stop. We talked about a couple topics, but part of that is we talked about this circuit. I think for everyone it’s challenging, and I think even for him he has experience on the street, but he says it’s not going to be very easy for everyone, especially in the wet.”

Growing up in Japan, how big of a deal was Michael Jordan?

“It’s the big star in Japan, seriously. At a younger age, if you never saw Michael Jordan play, I think they knew the name. But I will say I think he’s the most popular sportsman in Japan. I think everyone knew the name. To be honest, I haven’t had a chance to meet Michael Jordan, but when I joined this team, I got new Jordan shoes which I’m very lucky. It’s not easy to buy I think, but I get for free so, I need to say thank you. I think I want to get a signature from Michael Jordan on my shoes.”

Have you had a chance to meet Michael Jordan yet?

“No, but I think I will first ask for his signature.”

With Garage 56 at Le Mans, what was it like seeing everyone around the world reacting to NASCAR and do you think it will bring more fans here?

“I think the first thing I would like to say is this new gen car makes it more familiar in terms of probably driving. Also, I think NASCAR is quite welcoming now to supporting us to join. Not for a full season but to join and get experience. I think for us this is really helpful for us to join. For us, for sure I think definitely I remember that when I was young, I think my first racing watching on TV was NASCAR actually instead of Formula 1. I remember when I started go-karts, I didn’t know the Formula 1 name, but I remember in my memory that I saw an oval race with NASCAR. I don’t remember exactly, but this racing was what I was watching when I was young when I was like four or five years old maybe. I was saying when I have a chance I want to try NASCAR, which I was asking so many times, but I never had an opportunity, but finally I got this opportunity. I’m 36 years old so not a lot of chance, but I’m lucky I got it at least.”

Do you think you’ll do another NASCAR race?

“Well, it depends. If I manage good, maybe. If I don’t manage good, that’s it.”

What has been the lasting effect of the three races NASCAR ran in Japan 25 years ago?

“I think I will say it’s a bit different now because at that time when you say NASCAR being in Japan, but the first time we didn’t have any social media stuff. We just had newspapers, but this time you have all of the social media stuff. In NASCAR, all of the media are doing really great job. I think all of the attention that’s coming from social media is something that’s good. I think if you come to Japan now it’s probably a bit different story I would say because you can promote and you can promote in a different way, especially to the younger direction. I think it’s 25 years ago, I think we didn’t have a smart phone. That time was like a GPS or whatever with the different connection. But this time I think we have a completely different way to deliver the information. For sure, I think NASCAR and how they fight during the race, I think Japanese people like it. I think it’s a possibility in the future and if they come, I think they come a different way than 25 years ago.”

About Toyota

Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in North America for more than 65 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands, plus our more than 1,800 dealerships.

Toyota directly employs more than 48,000 people in North America who have contributed to the design, engineering, and assembly of nearly 45 million cars and trucks at our 13 manufacturing plants. By 2025, Toyota’s 14th plant in North Carolina will begin to manufacture automotive batteries for electrified vehicles. With more electrified vehicles on the road than any other automaker, Toyota currently offers 22 electrified options.

Through the Start Your Impossible campaign, Toyota highlights the way it partners with community, civic, academic and governmental organizations to address our society’s most pressing mobility challenges. We believe that when people are free to move, anything is possible. For more information about Toyota, visit

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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