Kei Cozzolino

Kei Francesco Cozzolino (born in Shinjuku, Tokyo, November 9, 1987) is an Italian Japanese racing driver who currently competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship with the Red River Sport Ferrari 488 GTE EVO and in the Super GT series with Pacific-D'station Racing AMR - Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

Kei Francesco Cozzolino
Kei Cozzolino Super GT 2020.jpg
Born (1987-11-09) 9 November 1987 (age 33)
NationalityJapan Japanese
CitizenshipDual – Italy & Japan
OccupationRacing driver
FIA World Endurance Championship
Years active2019 – 2020
TeamsRed River Sport
Championship titles
Asian Le Mans Series
Lamborghini Super Trofeo
Esso Formula Toyota
Awards
2018 Asian Le Mans GT Champion
2017 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia Champion
2007 Esso Formula Toyota Champion

Racing careerEdit

KartingEdit

Cozzolino started karting at the age of 9. He competed and won in various competitions in classes in Japan and around the world. His karting career ended in 2005 when he switched to racing cars.

Junior formulaEdit

In 2006, Cozzolino made his debut in auto racing, in the Formula Toyota series. The Italian driver made his debut during the second round of the championship at Sendai Hi-Land Raceway.[1] Cozzolino finished tenth out of eleven finishers. In 2007, he competed in the Formula Challenge Japan and the Formula Toyota classes. In the Formula Challenge Japan, supported by Nissan, Toyota and Honda, Cozzolino won one race. All the drivers whom entered both the Formula Toyota and Formula Challenge Japan series were supported by Toyota. This was to promote the Formula Challenge Japan as a replacement of the Formula Toyota after the series disbandment.[2] In the final season of the Formula Toyota, Cozzolino won the title. Cozzolino was strong all season long, but Keisuke Kunimoto had the lead before the final round of the season. At the final round of the season at Fuji International Speedway Cozzolino qualified second and Kunimoto sixth. After a strong race Cozzolino won the race, KyoYu did not finish the race, thus the championship was decided in Cozzolino's favour.

Formula 3Edit

After his 2007 Formula Toyota championship the young driver graduated to the All-Japan Formula Three Championship driving Now Motor Sport in a Dallara F308. As a result of winning the championship Cozzolino tested for the Toyota Tom's Formula Nippon factory team. In his debut year in Formula 3 the young Italian achieved four podium finishes and a ninth place in the championship. He also participated in the 2008 Macau Grand Prix Formula Three where he finished fifteenth. For the 2009 season, Cozzolino switched to the only Honda powered entry Toda Racing. He achieved his first win in Formula Three during the round at Twin Ring Motegi. But with the Toyota Tom's team dominating the championship Cozzolino was best of the rest finishing fourth.

Formula Nippon (Super Formula)Edit

For the 2010 season, Cozzolino graduated to the Formula Nippon, the highest racing class in Japan. Cozzolino participated in a Toyota powered Swift FN09 entered by Team LeMans. His best finish was a fourth place at Autopolis. During the non-championship Fuji Sprint Cup the Italian driver achieved his first pole-position. The driver eventually finished tenth in the standings.

World Touring Car ChampionshipEdit

After more than a year without racing Cozzolino was announced as a replacement of Alberto Cerqui for the Guia Race of Macau.[3] 29 drivers attempted to qualify for the event of which 23 could start the race, Cozzolino qualified 22nd. In the first race the Italian driver had an accident after seven laps but he was qualified 20th. In the second race he was the last running driver in 19th place 2 laps behind the winning driver.

Asian Le Mans SeriesEdit

In 2018–2019, the Ferrari 488 GT3 of the privately run CAR GUY team, with fellow team mates Takeshi Kimura and James Calado, win all four legs of the 2018–19 Asian Le Mans Series.[4] The team achieves an auto-invitation to enter into the 2019 24 hours of Le Mans.

24 hours of Le MansEdit

Cozzolino has made 2 appearances in Le Mans (2019 and 2020). In 2019, he finishes 5th in class. At his second attempt in 2020, the Ferrari 488 GTE EVO of the MR Racing team, suffers a mechanical problem early on the race and forced to be 7 laps behind the leader. In the end the team retires due to a gearbox failure on lap 172.

FIA World Endurance ChampionshipEdit

After his remarkable achievement in 2019, Cozzolino signed to drive for the MR Racing team in FIA WEC 2019-2020 season. Pairing up with Olivier Beretta and Motoaki Ishikawa, the team's best finish was 3rd in the opening round at Silverstone. However later into the season, MR Racing has withdrawn from the series due to Covid-19.

SUPER GTEdit

His debut in Super GT was at his promotion to become a Lamborghini Young Driver in 2016. Cozzolino participates in only 2 rounds with the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of the Direction Racing team. He returns to the series in 2020, to replace Nicki Thiim in the Pacific - D'station Racing team's Aston Martin Vantage GT3, pairing up with the team's ace driver Tomonobu Fujii.

Racing recordEdit

Formula Toyota resultsEdit

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Driver's Championship Points
2007 Le Beausset Motorsports FUJ
5
SUZ
2
MOT
3
SEN1
2
SEN2
1
SUG
1
FUJ
1
1st 103

Japanese Formula 3 resultsEdit

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Driver's Championship Points
2008 Now Motorsports FUJ
3
FUJ
5
AUT
2
AUT
4
SUZ
6
SUZ
3
MOT
8
MOT
4
OKA
7
OKA
7
SUZ
5
SUZ
DNF
MOT
6
MOT
6
FUJ
3
FUJ
4
SUG
6
SUG
DNF
6th 133
2009 Toda Racing FUJ
4
FUJ
4
OKA
4
OKA
4
SUZ
5
SUZ
5
FUJ
5
FUJ
DNF
OKA
9
OKA
7
MOT
2
MOT
1
AUT
4
AUT
3
SUG
4
SUG
4
4th 66

Formula Nippon resultsEdit

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Driver's Championship Points
2010 Team LeMans SUZ
Ret
MOT
10
FUJ
8
MOT
13
SUG
7
AUT
4
SUZ1
13
SUZ2
14
10th 8

FIA World Endurance Championship resultsEdit

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Driver's Championship Points
2019-20 MR Racing SIL
3
FUJ
4
SHA
7
BAH
7
COT
10
SPA
DNS
LEM
20
BAH
DNS
11th 43

24 Hours of Le Mans resultsEdit

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
2019   Car Guy Racing   Takeshi Kimura
  Côme Ledogar
Ferrari 488 GTE GTE
Am
332 35th 5th
2020   MR Racing   Vincent Abril
  Takeshi Kimura
Ferrari 488 GTE Evo GTE
Am
172 DNF DNF

Super GT resultsEdit

Year Team Car Class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 DC Points
2016 Lamborghini Team Direction Shift Lamborghini Huracan GT3 GT300 OKA
16
FUJ
17
SUG
FUJ
SUZ
CHA
MOT
MOT
NC 0
2018 CarGuy Racing Honda NSX GT3 GT300 OKA
FUJ
26
SUZ
BUR
FUJ
SUG
AUT
MOT
NC 0
2020 Pacific - D'station Racing AMR Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 GT300 FUJ (1)
10
FUJ (2)
19
SUZ (1)
10
MOT (1)
18
FUJ (3)
24
SUZ (2)
24
MOT (2)
25
FUJ (4)
28th 2
2021 Pacific - Car Guy Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 EVO 2020 GT300 OKA
23
FUJ (1)
SUZ
MOT (1)
SUG
AUT
MOT
FUJ (2)
23rd* NC*

* Season still in progress.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Formula Toyota Round 2". Toyota Motorsports. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  2. ^ "2007 Round 1". Formula Challenge Japan. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Alberto Cerqui replaced by Kei Cozzolino for WTCC Macau". Autosport. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Asian Le Mans Series Champions Crowned in Malaysia | Asian Le Mans Series". Retrieved 2019-04-21.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Yuhi Sekiguchi
Formula Toyota
Champion

2007
Succeeded by
None
(Series ended)
Preceded by
Jesse Krohn
Jun-San Chen
Asian Le Mans Series
GT Champion

2018–19
With: James Calado & Takeshi Kimura
Succeeded by
Incumbent