To this date MotoIQ is a powerhouse that is largely driven by Mike Kojima's commitment to succeed in everything he does. I will admit it feels weird to write an article about him for MotoIQ but none of the contributing writers would be sharing on this large of a stage if it was not for the vision he and Jeff had some years back.
When we step away from his accomplishments and look at what Mike genuinely likes to do; we learn even more about him… It wasn't until I asked him several questions for the sake of this editorial that I realized what gets his blood flowing… Plain and simple, he likes a CHALLENGE and will die trying in anything he does. Mike loves to be the underdog, making uncompetitive cars competitive and underfunded teams winners. Don't just take my word for it, let's look at some of the choices Mike has made…
The Dog Car is a B14 Chassis Nissan Sentra that started as a former race car. A Sentra, much less a B14 is probably one of the worst platforms to try to develop into a race car. It had serious issues related to how Mike thought the car should have been built but Mike somehow managed to develop it in to a famous winning race car that late last year captured the inaugural MPTCC championship. A car that was developed out of the spirit of competition over some 8 years to still be competitive against its more modern counterparts. In addition to the original Dog Car Mike developed the Dog 2 and Dog 3 Sentras. Mike also stepped up to the “Street Tuner Challenge” TV show with Eric Hsu and his Skyline R32 GTR. And through blood sweat and tears they turned the car into a time attack powerhouse. At one time the R32 was the fastest time attack car in North America. It still holds the lap record for the inner circuit at Cal Speedway and is currently being retrofitted and updated to take on the worlds fastest time attack cars in Australia.
|The dog car is quite possibly the most well sorted Nissan Sentra on the planet. |
|Built as the original Dog Car's high tech counterpart this is the Dog II. At this point Dog I still remains the car to beat. |
|The end all be all of the dog generation. Despite its limited appearances I have no doubt it will see a track some day. |
In addition to building cars Mike has always loved to be behind the wheel. He has raced in various series such as SCCA, IMSA and NASA over the years, he helped develop the SE-R cup and served as the series head as well, earning podium finishes in more than 2/3's of the races he has entered. While Mike still likes to race, a serious accident in 2006 left Mike hospitalized with a broken back. After months of recovery and the thought of having a family to take care of Mike largely gave up racing although you will still occasionally catch him behind the wheel.
|After such a significant back injury it's amazing Mike walked away from crawling out of Dai Yoshihara's 350Z. |
In 2009 Mike decided to try his hand at drifting and was hired by Falken Motorsports. The team started with a Lexus IS350 Driven by Formula D veteran Dai Yoshihara and Mike was brought on as the Chassis Engineer. As Mike cut his teeth on the Lexus the car was just starting to get sorted when a freak accident totaled the car.
|Here Mike takes tire temps on the Falken Tire IS350. Not long after this picture was taken the car was totaled.|
The team was forced to build a new car for Dai to drive in the rest of the series at year and they did in a big way, constructing a new car in 9 days from an S13 shell that was sitting in Falken's warehouse.