Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese

Kenko Miura is set to compete in the 2023 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season as the owner-driver of Team Japan Needs24, racing the No. 74 Toyota Camry in both classes.

Veteran driver Kenko Miura (三浦健光) has officially announced his return to the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series as a full-time competitor with his own team Team Japan Needs24 on 13 April 2023.

The announcement of Miura’s return serves as the next step in the career of the 42-year old driver, who made his first appearance as an EuroNASCAR owner-driver in last year’s NASCAR GP Belgium to build a foundation for Team Japan’s first full-time season.

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese

“I want to finish the season in the top-10, make my way to the podium and fight for the win,” said Miura to “My plan is to compete in as many races as possible and make my mark on the championship.” 

Miura is the first Japanese driver to participate in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series when he made his debut in 2017. He had previously competed in various racing championships such as the Asian Formula 3 Series, Asian Formula Renault, Formula Asia 2.0 and Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia before making the move to Europe.

Despite his inexperience with stock car racing, Miura was capable of scoring four top-10 finishes in his debut season thanks to the skills that he honed from both his past racing experience and his daily job as a driving instructor and media person for Toyota and Lexus.

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard

The 2018 season saw Miura move up to full-time double duty competition with Alex Caffi. Miura proved himself to be a consistent top-10 challenger in the EuroNASCAR 2 division, securing two top-5 finishes and seven top-10 finishes on his way to finish eleventh in the driver’s standings.

That year also saw Miura score his best finishing result to date, as he took advantage of a late race incident involving Felipe Rabello and Guillaume Dumarey to secure his first podium finish in the penultimate race at Circuit Zolder.

Miura then focused his efforts towards a full-season campaign in the EuroNASCAR PRO division in 2019 with Alex Caffi before he decided to move to DF1 for the following season. Unfortunately, the next season turned out to be 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard

With heavy travel restrictions imposed by the Japanese government severely limiting Miura’s options, the Tokyo native was forced to take a temporary break from racing as his EuroNASCAR schedule required him to fly from Japan during race weekends.

He was able to find an opportunity to fulfill his DF1 deal with an appearance in the 2020 Valencia doubleheader with the No. 99 Hama Trucks / Emirates Chevrolet Camaro, but other than that Miura was unable to make a return to racing until 2022.

Credits: Reaume Brothers Racing

Miura returned in a big way in 2022, first by finally realizing his dream to race in the United States with his participation in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Mid-Ohio before making his first EuroNASCAR race in two years later that year.

Now with COVID-19 travel restrictions being a thing in the past, Miura is excited to be able to return as a full-time competitor and an owner-driver for Team Japan Needs24.

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese

“I’m really looking forward to starting the season at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia,” said Miura, who will race the No. 74 Toyota Camry on both classes in 2023. “If you don’t attack, you don’t have a chance to win, so I’ll do my best and be smart behind the wheel!”

Disclaimer: Credits for all photos are listed underneath each image.


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