Born in Japan’s tropical fantasy island of Okinawa and raised in sunny California’s San Gabriel, Ken found himself in the drifting game early on, largely from his father Tsukasa Gushi. As such, his story is not so dissimilar from the pages of famed drifting manga Initial D: he began his drifting journey at the age of 13 and started competing in Formula Drift at 16 even before passing his driving test, making him the youngest competitor in the sport at the time.
Since then, Ken has found success with podium finishes, prized wins, and entry into the most grueling races, including the world renowned Pikes Peak Hill Climb in 2007. Ken now drives professionally for Toyota Gazoo Racing North America, an in-house tuning company under Toyota.
So what would a 16-year professional driver for one of the most demanding motorsports call an essential? His car of course: Ken calls the Toyota GR86 his own, with its 2.4L 228 horsepower naturally-aspirated boxer engine, rear-wheel drive, factory-equipped limited slip differential and, most notably, a manual transmission. Ken also reveals he has had the car earlier than the public, building it to compete in Formula Drift. Naturally, his racing suit – an extension of a pro driver’s skin of sorts – is also highly regarded, followed by his helmet and GoPro camera to round out the “work” equipment. Ken unwinds with his other essentials, including his laptop, AirPods, Apple Watch and more.
Check out the latest episode of Essentials and keep an eye out for more from Ken Gushi, Toyota, and the GR86.