Katsumasa Chiyo is a Japanese racing driver who currently competes with Nissan in the Japanese Super GT Series and Blancpain GT Series.
His greatest success so far was a championship title in the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series. In the same year, he was the overall winner of the Bathurst 12 Hour race. Earlier in a career, he was the 2011 Japanese Formula 3 National class champion.
Earning Nissan's scholarship early in a career
Born in December 1986 in Setagaya, Tokyo, Katsumasa Chiyo started his racing career in karting competitions in 2002. In 2006, he participated in the Nissan Drivers Development Program (NDDP), earning a scholarship for the next season. His first competition in the car racing was the 2007 Formula Challenge Japan (FCJ). After finishing 15th in the rookie season, he progressed to third place in 2008 Formula Challenge, winning three races over the year.
Japanese Formula 3 National champion in 2011
In 2009, Chiyo progressed to the National class of the Japanese Formula 3 Championship, driving a Dallara-Toyota for Team Nova. Scoring five podiums, he finished sixth in the points. Next year, he was third in the F3 National championship, scoring one victory and seven podiums with Denso Team Le Beausset.
Finally, in 2011, in his third F3 season, Chiyo became a National class champion. He was driving for NDDP Racing, scoring five wins and ten podiums over the year. He beat Tomoki Nojiri in a championship fight.
Katsumasa Chiyo in 2011
2012 - one victory in the first Super GT season
In 2012, NDDP Racing recruited Chiyo to drive for the team in the Japanese Super GT Series. He was sharing the #3 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 with Yuhi Sekiguchi, scoring his maiden GT300 class victory in the fourth round at Sportsland Sugo.
Chiyo, Sekiguchi and Daiki Sasaki were second in the class at 1000 km of Suzuka. At the end of his rookie Super GT season, Chiyo was fourth in the points.
Double programme in Japan in 2013
In 2013, Chiyo was transferred to another Nissan team (Dijon Racing) to drive the #48 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3. His full-time partner was Hiroshi Takamori. Without wins or podiums, they were 28th in the GT300 drivers' classification.
In 2013, Chiyo also participated full season in the Japanese Formula 3 Championship, driving for B-Max Engineering. He was a race winner two times, finishing third in the final standings.
Katsumasa Chiyo in 2014
2014 – first season in Europe
In 2014, Chiyo went to Europe to race in the Blancpain Endurance Series with Nissan GT Academy Team RJN, driving the #35 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3. Sharing a car with five different co-drivers (Miguel Faisca, Mark Shulzhitskiy, Stanislav Aksenov, Masataka Yanagida and Wolfgang Reip), Chiyo finished the season 12th in the Pro-Am class.
His other commitments in 2014 were in the Asian GT Championship, Macau GT Cup, Bathurst 12 Hour, VLN Endurance Series and 24 Hours of Nürburgring, but without notable results.
2015 Blancpain Endurance Series champions: Alex Buncombe, Wolfgang Reip and Katsumasa Chiyo
2015 – victorious season all over the world
The season 2015 turn to be the most successful in Chiyo's career so far. He opened the season with an overall victory at Bathurst 12 Hour race, sharing a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 with Florian Strauss and Wolfgang Reip.
The season continued successfully in the Super GT Series, where Chiyo participated in six rounds, driving the #10 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 for Gainer. He was sharing a car with Andre Couto and Ryuichiro Tomita, winning two races (Fuji 500km and Suzuka 1000 km) and finishing second in the points, behind Couto.
In Europe, Chiyo became the Blancpain Endurance Series champion, scoring one victory (Circuit Paul Ricard) in the #23 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3. His teammates were Alex Buncombe and Wolfgang Reip.
Katsumasa Chiyo (left) and Satoshi Motoyama are teammates since 2016
Return to Japan in 2016
In 2016, Chiyo was again successful in Australia, finishing second at Bathurst 12 Hour. He was sharing the #1 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 with Florian Strauss and Rick Kelly. Later in 2016, Chiyo again had a double programme in Japan, driving for Mola in the Super GT Series and for B-Max Racing Team with NDDP in the Japanese Formula 3.
In the GT championship, Chiyo finished 12th in the GT500 class standings after sharing the #46 Nissan GT-R with Satoshi Motoyama. They were on a podium in the season-opening race at Okayama. In the Formula 3, Chiyo managed to win one race to finish sixth in the points.
Katsumasa Chiyo at 2017 Nismo Festival
European-Japanese schedule in 2017
In 2017, Chiyo was again combining racing commitments in Japan and Europe. In the Japanese GT Series, he competed with Mola in the GT500 class, continuing to share the #46 Nissan GT-R with Satoshi Motoyama. They scored one podium, finishing second at Sugo, ending a season 12th in the final classification.
In Europe, Chiyo was driving the #23 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. He re-united with his 2015 championship-winning co-driver Alex Buncombe. The third driver was Lucas Ordonez. Without wins or podiums, they finished only 23rd in the final standings.