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Yogibo starts own team for GT World Challenge Asia assault

Furniture brand Yogibo has left SUPER GT to start its own team that will tackle the GT World Challenge Asia series in 2022.

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WebShark, which operates the Yogibo brand in Japan, competed in SUPER GT's GT300 class last year in an alliance with the Drago Corse team, fielding a solo Honda NSX GT3 for Ryo Michigami and Shogo Mitsuyama.

However, for 2022 the company has decided to set up shop on its own to tackle the six-round GT World Challenge Asia series with a Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo decked out in Yogibo's distinctive light blue colours, with an eye on contesting the Intercontinental GT Challenge in the future.

Misato Haga, the former Direxiv boss that acted as team manager for Drago Corse last year, heads up the newly-formed 'Yogibo Racing' squad, with Japanese pair Naoki Yokomizo and Kiyoto Fujinami signed up to drive.

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Former Nissan GT500 driver Yokomizo is familiar with the Ferrari from his race outings last year for Pacific CarGuy Racing, and was also a race winner in Blancpain GT Asia back in 2017 for CarGuy. 

Fujinami meanwhile is set to combine his new Yogibo duties with another season of racing in SUPER GT for Kondo Racing alongside Joao Paulo de Oliveira.

The news follows on from Drago Corse announcing a new partnership with aero parts manufacturer Busou that will see the team switch to running a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in SUPER GT this year.

Haga, who spent more than a decade away from racing before her return to motorsport with Yogibo last year, commented: "Personally, in my first year back as a team manager, I was taught a lot of things by many people and I think I was able to grow a lot.

"In 2022, Yogibo Racing will participate in GT World Challenge Asia with a completely different system and aim to fight on the global stage. It will be a new challenge, but I want to make use of what I've learned up to now and do our best to put on a show that many people can enjoy."

Misato Haga, Drago Corse Director

Misato Haga, Drago Corse Director

Photo by: Sho Tamura

Yogibo is one of several Japanese teams to have signed up to race in GT World Challenge Asia this season, enticed by the prospect of a new 'Japan Cup' sub-competition.

CarGuy, Aston Martin squad D'station Racing and McLaren team ABSSA are among those to have signed up to contest the four-round competition that encompasses races at Suzuka, Fuji, Sugo and Okayama.

Sepang is slated to host the season opener in May as the competition looks to restart after two seasons on hiatus due to COVID-19 border restrictions.

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