Sunshine Motorsports

From Formula Rejects Wiki
(Redirected from Sunshine Infiniti)
Jump to: navigation, search
Flag of Japan svg.png Sunshine
Sunshine Daihatsu.png
Full Name Sunshine Daihatsu
Base Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia
Founder(s) Shoichi Miyatani
Shinji Zanmai
Barii Mori
Team Principal(s) Joao Lagos
Technical Director {{{Technical Director}}}
Current Drivers
Other Noted Drivers Hagane Shizuka
Saeed Al Faisal
Kay Lon
Shinobu Katayama
James Davies
Daniel Martins
Debut 2013 Tasman Grand Prix
Races 68 (160 entries)
Constructors' Championships 0
Drivers' Championships 0
Race Wins 2
Podiums 13
Points 103
Pole Positions 3
Fastest Laps 7

Sunshine Motorsports, known from 2013 to 2014 as Sunshine Infiniti, and from 2015 as Sunshine Daihatsu (both for sponsorship reasons) is a Portuguese-owned Japanese racing team based in Coffs Harbour, Australia and is currently taking part in the Formula 1 Rejects World Race Series. Created by Japanese driver Barii Mori, Sunshine became based in Australia after taking over the Australian Minardi team in 2013 which had been run by Paul Stoddart and Dave Simpson since 2011. Despite being formed by Mori, most of the team's existence has been under Nissan ownership, prior to the outfit being purchased by the Portuguese DPT Asset Management firm in late 2014, with the support of another car maker, this time Daihatsu. For the 2015 season of the F1RWRS, Daniel Martins and James Davies are the team's drivers.

Early History


The Sunshine name was originally used in the F1RLFS (now Rejects of LFS) by the Kamaha. In the 2011 season, Kamaha owner Barii Mori was one of the first owners to take a punt at the new series, operating under the guise of Sunshine Motorsport with himself and hereunto unknown Japanese rookie Shinobu Katayama as their two drivers. Katayama proved to be an absolute revelation as she became the only series winner of the F1RLFS under the original IRDU owners, as for 2012 the series collapsed after severe financial mismanagement by the series owners before the season proper began. Nobou Takahashi and Didier Honore have been announced as the drivers for 2012 before the cancellation of the series and both of them managed to drive in the new cars before the series folded altogether. Several years later when the series was revived as the new Rejects of LFS in 2014, Sunshine decided against entering the new category, but none the less, Katayama's legacy as the only series winner under IRDU management was carried over as her name appeared on the new trophy as the original series champion.


After the conclusion of the F1RLFS series, the team broadened their horizons to the F1RWRS. By this point, Mori had sold a majority stake of the team to Nissan and used the money to fund Kamaha's 2012 car, which turned out to be a championship contender in the hands of lead driver Kay Lon. Meanwhile, Dave Simpson's Australian Minardi team was struggling on a shoestring budget after their own deal with Ford fell out at the last minute, forcing the team to run free customer BMW engines from good friend Daniel Melrose's MRT engine workshop. By the time the series reached Australia, the team was desperate for funds to survive until the end of the year. Realising they could enter the F1RWRS for much cheaper than setting up the team on their own, Sunshine jumped at the chance by offering Simpson enough money to not only survive the year but to expand to a second car for Katayama for the rest of the year. Despite the partnership scoring only two points finishes in their existence, Sunshine decided to expand their involvement in the team, to the point where they bought a 95% stake in the team with former F1 driver Martin Brundle taking the other 5% as a way to fund son Alex's ambitions to drive in Formula One for 2014. For 2013, the team was to be renamed from Australian Minardi to Sunshine Infiniti, advertising Nissan's struggling luxury car division.

Katayama stayed with the team that brought her to the F1RWRS for 2013 with fellow Japanese driver and Foxdale refugee Hagane Shizuka signing up as their second driver, which showed that the team was more than ready to make a real go of their F1RWRS foray. Their first in-house built car/engine combination was incredibly quick over one lap in the hands of their drivers as, between the for drivers who eventually drove for the team, they scored 6 fastest laps and a two pole positions. Race results however were few and far between with many mechanical retirements costing the team dearly in terms of major results. Eventually, Shizuka got so frustrated with the apparent lack of progress with improving the reliability that he walked out to join FAT Turbo Racing. In a direct swap with FAT Turbo, Saudi paydriver Saeed Al Faisal was drafted in as his replacement while Sunshine negotiated with Kay Lon as a more permanent replacement for 2014. They eventually managed to run Lon for the last two races of the year after he fell out with previous employer Jones Racing. By year's end, Sunshine had amassed a respectable total of 29 points, which included two second places and an emotional debut win for Katayama in front of her home crowd in Fuji.

Overall, the team was highly confident of further success in 2014 with their driver lineup of the highly promising Katayama and experienced Lon would help vault them into championship contention. Despite grandeur predictions of championship contention and more wins, behind the scenes, trouble had started brewing as Brundle sold his 5% stake in the team to Nissan for a very tidy sum. Whilst this wasn't a major concern, rumours were starting to spread that Nissan was in deep financial trouble and were given an ultimatum by parent company Renault; either cut spending or face being sold at the end of the year. Knowing that the very fate of the company was on the line, head office at Nissan made the decision to sell the team off at the end of 2014 before the season had even begun. Despite all the turmoil behind the scenes, Katayama didn't seem to let this affect her driving as she extracted the full potential out of the car to finish third in the championship, behind eventual champion Mark Dagnall and MRT's Phillippe Nicolas. Lon on the other hand had a much more difficult season as he felt the pressure of the team's uncertain future on his shoulders. After his falling out with Jones in 2013 and Kamaha the year before that, many team owners were wary of signing any long team deals with the German and, with 2014 being a make-or-break year for the German, he failed to impress during the first half of the year, with his performances accumulating to a humiliating DNQ at the British GP. After that, his performances improved dramatically and, by season's end, he had scored three podiums and had helped the team finish an impressive third in the constructors championship, safe with the knowledge that he had a contract with Prospec in 2015.

João Lagos Sport and DPT Buyout

Despite all the success on track, there was little interest in buying the team, which only served to throw its long-term viability into further doubt. At the end of the European season however, a Portuguese consortium consisting of João Lagos Sport and their partners DPT Asset Management launched a bid to take over the team for 2015. Many didn't take the offer seriously until it transpired at the Chinese Grand Prix that the João Lagos/DPT bid was being bankrolled by another Japanese car manufacturer in the form of Daihatsu. Desperate to offload the team to appease their parent company, Nissan quickly signed the deal the day after the season ending Japanese Grand Prix on the condition that the new owners honoured Katayama's contract with the team for 2015. Alongside Katayama, Sunshine signed on Mecha Grand Prix refugee James Davies when he publicly announced he had enough of the Indonesian team and walked out of their deal at the Japanese Grand Prix. This was after another candidate Daniel Melrose (who left Jones Racing) went to Simpson Motorsports instead.

The 2015 season, however, began poorly. Katayama did not finish the first race in Adelaide and she was suspended for the following two races by the team after she complained to the press. She was replaced by team's reserve Daniel Martins but he could do no better, with a tenth place at Bathurst his best.

The rift between Katayama and Sunshine had grown by Monaco. Katayama returned for this round, in what became her last race with the team. Katayama and Davies had a very poor qualifying session and found themselves outqualified by pre-qualifiers Scuderia Alitalia and Davies' previous team Mecha. Despite this, they made the grid, but neither car finished, and this was enough for Katayama. She tore up her contract with the team and moved to Revolution, prompting Martins to make a second comeback to a race drive. By this time Sunshine had sunk into pre-qualifying and the situation looked grim as first Martins failed to pre-qualify in Mexico, then both cars were out on Friday in the US. But at the following race in Canada, Davies gave the team a lifeline with a well-earned fourth place and three valuable points. It was a sign of things to come, with Davies in the points again in Belgium and Austria, Martins doing likewise at Zandvoort and matching Davies' best result with fourth. Then in China, Martins went one better and finished third, his first podium for 18 months, restoring some faith within the Sunshine team. Combined, Davies and Martins' points were enough to give Sunshine 9th overall in the standings. A decline, but nothing like as bad as first feared.

Complete F1RWRS Results

Year Chassis Engine # Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Points CC
16 Flag of Japan svg.png Shinobu Katayama Ret Ret Ret 5 Ret 11† 11† Ret Ret Ret 2 Ret Ret Ret 1 Ret
17 Flag of Japan svg.png Hagane Shizuka 7 7† Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret
Flag of Saudi Arabia svg.png Saeed Al Faisal Ret 4 5
Flag of Germany svg.png Kay Lon Ret 2
11 Flag of Japan svg.png Shinobu Katayama 4 2 12 8 Ret Ret 2 12 3 6 3 Ret 9 1 3 10
12 Flag of Germany svg.png Kay Lon 12 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret DNQ 7 Ret 7 2 3 7 5 3
2015 Sunshine SD-01 Daihatsu Zeetec-R1 TAS AUS MED MON MEX USA CAN GBR GER BEL AUT ITA NED CHN JPN BRA 13 9th
5 Flag of Japan svg.png Shinobu Katayama Ret Ret
Flag of Portugal svg.png Daniel Martins 10 Ret DNQ DNPQ 8 8 Ret Ret 7 7 4 3 14 14
6 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png James Davies 8 13 11 Ret Ret DNPQ 4 13 8 5 6 8 Ret Ret 15* 16
2016 Sunshine SD-02 Daihatsu Zeetec-R1/16 AUS NSW GBR ITA AUT CAN SUS NUS GER NED MON BEL MEX ARG CHN JPN 7 12th
15 Flag of Portugal svg.png Daniel Martins 7 13 DNPQ DNPQ Ret Ret 7 DNPQ Ret Ret 4 Ret 6 7 DNPQ Ret
16 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png James Davies Ret 18† DNPQ DNPQ Ret 4 DNQ DNPQ Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret DNPQ Ret
2017 Sunshine SD-03 Daihatsu Zeetec-R1/17 AUS NSW GBR ITA AUT CAN SUS NUS GER NED MON BEL MOR ARG JPN CHN 0 16th
23 Flag of Portugal svg.png Daniel Martins DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ Ret DNPQ Ret DNPQ Ret DNPQ Ret Ret Ret DNQ Ret 11
32 Flag of Japan svg.png Barii Mori DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ Ret DNPQ Ret DNPQ
Flag of Switzerland svg.png Gregor Pascal Ret DNPQ DNQ 12 Ret Ret Ret Ret
  • * Season in progress
  • † Driver did not finish the Grand Prix, but was classified as they completed over 90% of the race distance.
ARWS Constructors
2019 Season ARWS Constructors
Aeroracing Blokkmonsta Euromotor Fusion Gillet ENB Jones Kamaha Kjellerup Lomas
Mecha MRT Nurminen Simpson USD Venturi Voeckler Vincent
Former ARWS Constructors
Acuri - AMR - ARC - ArrowTech - Autodynamics - Bangelia - Boxtel - Calinetic - CR - DGNgineering - Dofasco - FAT - Flying Fish - Foxdale - Gauthier - Hemogoblin - HRT - Horizon
IBR - JLD - Kingfisher - KQ - Lotus - MAN - Minardi - Mitie - Pacchia - Phoenix - Prospec - Revolution - Rosenforth - SOTL - Sunshine - Tassie - Tropico - Trueba - Virgin - West Cliff - ZimSport