Sport | Japan

Rising motorsport star Kaleb Ngatoa's Japan debut rain delayed

Māori motorsport star Kaleb Ngatoa (Te Ātihaunui a Pāpārangi) makes his debut in Japan today, weather permitting.

The 21-year-old, who was the third fastest in qualifying on Saturday, is racing in the formula regional Japanese championship in Suzuka, a city 50km southwest of Nagoya.

The first race of the day originally due to get underway Sunday morning (NZ time) was delayed and subsequently abandoned due to wet weather.

Kaleb Nagoya was in fourth place on the starting grid before race one of the Japanese championship was abandoned due to wet weather. Formula Regional Japanese Championship / YouTube

Ngatoa's racecar was fourth on the starting grid in the customary black of New Zealand, behind Japan's Kazuki Oki in pole position and Sota Ogawa in second spot, with fellow Kiwi Liam Sceats third.

Kaleb Nagoya's no. 3 racecar before the first race of the day was abandoned.  Formula Regional Japanese Championship / YouTube

After several laps to warm up the racecars, the field of seven returned to the starting grid, before race one was abandoned.

Kaleb Ngatoa's racecar for the Japanese championship. Photo / Supplied

The championship utilises similar equipment to that which Ngatoa proved a race winner in Aotearoa. He recently enjoyed success in the formula regional Oceania championship winning his first race of the season.

Kaleb with his parents Robbie Ngatoa and Tracey Toulmin after winning the Oceania championship. Photo / Tayler Burke

Ngatoa is competing under the Suketina team banner which has strong ties to TGM, a leading super formula team.

The Japanese competition is part of a series of regional driver development championships certified by FIA, motorsport’s world governing body.

Ngatoa's two races in Suzuka can be watched live on the formula regional Japanese YouTube channel at 11.40pm and 6.20pm on Sunday (NZ time).