Keita Sawa is a Japanese racing driver who is currently active in GT competitions. Earlier in a career, Sawa participated in the FIA World Endurance Championship and gained some success in regional sports car competitions, most recently winning the Asian Le Mans Series GT class in 2016. He also won Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in 2011 and Macau GT Cup two times, in 2009 and 2010.
Formula 4 champion early in a career
Born in August 1976, Keita Sawa started his racing career in junior open-wheel competitions. His first success was a title of Formula 4 Japan West champion in 1999. Next year, he made a step up to the Japanese Formula 3 Championship, driving a Dallara-Toyota for DTM team. He scored no wins or podiums in twelve races, finishing 12th in the points.
GT Championship debut in 2002, vice-champion in 2003
In 2002, Sawa made a debut in the Japanese GT Championship with Sigmatech Racing, driving the #71 Toyota MR-S in GT300 class. He was sharing a car with Masaki Jyonai, scoring one podium and finishing 15th in the final standings.
Keita Sawa stayed in the #71 car in 2003, switching from Toyota MR-S to Toyota Celica in the mid-season, scoring two GT300 class victories and finishing second in the championship points. He also won in the non-championship Suzuka 1000 race, sharing the #71 Toyota Celica with Tatsuya Kataoka and Masaki Jyonai.
In 2004, Sawa left Sigmatech Racing and joined Arktech Motorsport, driving the #112 Porsche 996 GT3-RS in three rounds of the Japanese GT Championship. In 2005, he recorded three more starts in the #112 Porsche.
One more Suzuka 1000 victory in 2006
In 2006, Keita's main competition was the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia with Cref Motorsports but his greatest success that year was a victory in GT300 class at Suzuka 1000 with Toyota Team Cerumo. At Suzuka, he was sharing the #52 Toyota Celica with Koki Saga and Hironori Takeuchi. In Carrera Cup, Sawa recorded eight podiums in twelve races and finished third in the points.
In 2007, he had a similar programme, finishing second in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, behind Tim Sugden, and competing at Suzuka 1000 with Team Mach's Vemac RD320R. In 2008, Sawa raced at Suzuka 1000 with Team Taisan's Porsche 996 GT3-RS, finishing fifth in GT300 class, but his most notable result was the third place in the inaugural Macau GT Cup, where he was driving a Lamborghini Gallardo GT3.
Two-time winner of the Macau GT Cup
In 2009, Sawa returned to Macau GT Cup in a Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 and scored his first victory at the famous Macau Guia Circuit, defeating the bunch of Porsche drivers. In the rest of the season, Sawa recorded two starts with Arktech's Porsche in the Super GT Series and fourth place at Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race in LKM Racing's Porsche.
In 2010, Sawa defended his victory at the streets of Macau, again driving a Lamborghini Gallardo GT3. This time, he was sharing a podium with two Audi drivers Marchy Lee and Danny Watts. The rest of the season Sawa spent with LKM Racing Team in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion in 2011
In 2011, Sawa finally captured a championship title in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, spending a season with LKM Racing Team and recording ten podiums in twelve races, including one victory. He earned a title after defeating Rodolfo Avila by just one point. Outside Carrera Cup, Sawa recorded his fourth consecutive podium at Macau GT Cup, again in a Lamborghini Gallardo GT3. This time, he finished second, behind Audi's Edoardo Mortara.
One more season in the Asian Carrera Cup followed in 2012. Sawa finished second in the points, behind Alexandre Imperatori. Outside Carrera Cup, he raced with LKM's Porsche at Macau (DNF) and Sepang (4th), but also with JLOC Lamborghini at Suzuka 1000, finishing third in GT300 class.
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia remained Keita's main competition in 2013. Scoring just one podium, he finished 12th in the points. Outside Carrera Cup, he joined Craft Racing in three rounds of the Asian Le Mans Series, driving an Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 or Ford GT GT3.
Sawa joined Clearwater Racing in 2014
In 2014, Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 became Keita's main race car. He joined Clearwater Racing to drive a Ferrari in the GT Asia, Asian Le Mans Series and non-championship events, such was Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race (2nd place). He won four races in GT Asia, finishing third in the points, and Shanghai's round of the Asian Le Mans Series.
In 2015, Clearwater Racing switched to McLaren 650S GT3 in the Asian Le Mans Series and Sawa scored two GT class wins at Fuji and Sepang. In the GT Asia, he joined Team Absolute to drive the #8 Bentley Continental GT3. He and Adderly Fong scored two wins, finishing second in the points.
Asian Le Mans Series GT champion in 2016
Two victories in GT class of the 2015-2016 Asian Le Mans Series with Clearwater Racing's Ferrari was good enough to take the championship title, together with Briton Rob Bell. In June 2016, Sawa made a debut at 24 Hours of Le Mans, sharing the #61 Ferrari with Rob Bell and Weng Sun Mok. They were 30th overall and fourth in GTE Am class.
In 2016, Sawa also spent a season with Bentley Team Absolute in GT Asia, scoring three wins and finishing seventh in the points.
FIA WEC regular competitor since 2017
In 2017, Sawa expanded his commitments with Clearwater Racing to the full season in the FIA World Endurance Championship. He was sharing the #61 Ferrari 488 GTE with Matt Griffin and Weng Sun Mok. They were GTE Am class winners in the season-opening race at Silverstone. At Le Mans 24 Hours, they were fifth in class. At the end of the season, Sawa and teammates finished third in Endurance Trophy for GTE Am drivers.
The same crew stayed in the #61 Ferrari 488 GTE for the 2018-2019 FIA WEC super season. They were on a podium at Spa and eighth in class at Le Mans.
In 2019, Sawa changed a manufacturer, driving a McLaren 720S GT3 in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia.