Sayaka Shimoda was born in Chiba Prefecture, was raised in an ordinary family and is a lively girl full of curiosity. During high school, she devoted herself to volleyball and participated in inter-high school competitions and national high school tournaments with the aim to be the best.
She was aiming for the professional volleyball league, but after being plagued with injuries, she was stopped by her doctor, and forced to give up her promising volleyball career.
Afterwards, she became fascinated by the D1GP…so much so that she became entranced, and decided to put everything into drifting. After scrimping and saving her money while working, she quit her job, bought her first drift car and began practicing earnestly full-time. Upon acquiring a manual (MT) license, she had the opportunity and passion to begin attending the “Hyper Driving School”.
During her time at the school, its representative, Mr. Ken Sato (now Sayaka's team manager), thought that Sayaka would possibly give up quickly, so he didn’t spend much time with her. However, after attending the school for more than 160 days in one year, Sayaka proved that she wanted to improve her driving skills and had the dedication to do so. As a result, Ken Sato told her "If you're so serious, I'll teach you seriously, too." From that point on, Ken Sato taught her driving techniques, how to set up the car from zero, and helped Sayaka to acquire a D1A license (a License to participate in the D1 Lights,under category of D1GP in just her second year of motorsports.
Starting in 2018, she began participating in the D1 Lights series. In 2019, she became the women's world champion at the International Drift Ladies Cup (IDLC) held in Beijing, China. She then won the coveted D1GP license in the D1Lights 2021 series and has been competing in both the D1GP and D1Lights series since 2022. Most recently, at Round 3 of D1GP in June 2022, she advanced to the top 8 of D1GP. This was the highest ranking for a female driver in D1GP and it is expected that she will break this record in the near future.
Sayaka’s journey has been about struggle and sacrifice…her story is one of a young, amateur girl who had no connection to motorsports but has now fulfilled her dream of participating in the D1GP, the world's top drifting series. She gives energy and hope to people around the world through her hard work as a “drifting entertainer.” Please follow her on her journey.