Hiro Matsushita

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Hiro Matsushita
Nationality  Japan
Born (1961-03-14) March 14, 1961 (age 57)
Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture
Retired 2001
Related to Konosuke Matsushita, Masaharu Matsushita
CART Championship Car
Years active 1990-1998
Teams Dick Simon Racing
Paragon Racing
Walker Racing
Arciero-Wells Racing
Payton/Coyne Racing
Starts 117
Wins 0
Poles 0
Best finish 23rd in 1991
Previous series
1989
1989
1986
American Racing Series
North American Formula Atlantic (West)
United States Formula Ford
Championship titles
1989

Toyota Atlantic championship

North American Formula Atlantic West Division champion

Hiroyuki "Hiro" Matsushita (ヒロ松下, Hiro Matsushita, born March 14, 1961, Kobe, Japan) (full Kanji:松下弘幸), is a former driver in the Champ Car series. He is the grandson of Konosuke Matsushita, founder of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.. His father Masaharu Matsushita who served as the second President of Panasonic for sixteen years beginning in 1961. His elder brother Masayuki Matsushita is the current Vice Chairman of Panasonic. His relationship has allowed him to receive financial backing from Panasonic throughout his racing career.

Racing career

Early career

Matsushita started his career racing motorcycles in his home country between 1977 and 1979, before making the switch to four wheels. With Panasonic backing, he then moved to the United States and entered his first Formula Ford race in 1986. He came second at the 24 Hours of Daytona and third at the Sebring 12 Hours in 1988. Matsushita began to make his name known by winning the 1989 Toyota Atlantic championship (Pacific division) with the largest point margin of all time.

CART Champ Car

He graduated to Champ Car in 1990, scoring one point in his debut season. Inexplicably, he never showed the pace that took him to four Atlantic victories; instead, he quickly earned a reputation for being at the tail end of the grid, always outperformed by his teammates. Nonetheless, he became the first Japanese driver to race in the Indianapolis 500 in 1991, and followed that achievement with a top ten finish at Milwaukee. Matsushita missed the 1992 Indy 500 after suffering a broken leg during a practice crash. He was sidelined for several weeks, and missed the next six events as well.

At the Phoenix race in 1994, Matsushita endured a horrific crash in which his car was cut in half by Jacques Villeneuve's car traveling at full speed. Miraculously, he emerged from his destroyed car unscathed. The same year, he earned his best career finish of 6th position at the Marlboro 500 at Michigan International Speedway. This result was made possible by an extraordinarily high rate of attrition that saw only 8 cars finish the race. Matsushita was 11 laps behind the leader at the drop of the checkered flag.

By the time he retired in 1998, Matsushita had started 117 Champ Car races for Dick Simon Racing, Walker Racing, Arciero/Wells Racing and Payton/Coyne. He holds the record for most starts in American Championship Car Racing history without scoring a Top 5.

In 2001, Matsushita competed in the Baja 1000 off road race in a Mitsubishi Montero.

Personal life

Away from the track, Matsushita owns Swift Engineering, is an American engineering firm, most notable for producing racing cars for a variety of open-wheel racing series, including Formula Ford, Formula Atlantic, the Champ Car World Series and Formula Nippon. From 2000 it diversified into Aerospace/Aviation markets.

In 2018 Swift Engineering joint ventured with Kobe Institute of Computing called Swift Xi located in Kobe, Japan providing data, logistics, and operations of autonomous and robotic technologies.[1]

Matsushita resides in San Clemente, California.

Nickname

Matsushita earned the nickname "King Hiro" from Emerson Fittipaldi, who was complaining about Matsushita's reluctance to cede track position when getting lapped by the leaders.[2] The nickname came about as a result of the voice-activated microphone ("vox") Roger Penske's team was using. Fittipaldi's epithet was said so quickly that the circuit cut off the first syllable of the first word he used. Fittipaldi, allegedly, had intended to say "Fucking Hiro!"[3]

Racing record

24 Hours of Le Mans results

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1999 Japan Team Goh
United Kingdom David Price Racing
Japan Hiroki Katoh
Japan Akihiko Nakaya
BMW V12 LM LMP 223 DNF DNF

American open–wheel racing results

(key)

Indy Lights

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Rank Points
1989 Panasonic Racing United States
PHX
United States
LBH
United States
MIL
United States
DET
United States
POR
13
United States
MWL
12
Canada
TOR
6
United States
POC
United States
MDO
United States
ROA
United States
NAZ
8
United States
LAG
18th 14

CART

Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Rank Points
1990 Dick Simon Racing Lola T89/00 Cosworth DFS V8t PHX LBH
19
INDY
DNQ
MIL DET
Ret
POR
12
CLE MEA
Ret
TOR MIS DEN
15
VAN
Ret
MDO
17
ROA
Ret
NZR
Ret
LS
Ret
31st 1
1991 Dick Simon Racing Lola T90/00 Cosworth DFS V8t SRF
Ret
PHX
14
MIL
10
DET
14
POR
14
23rd 6
Lola T91/00 LBH
13
CLE
14
MEA
12
TOR
Ret
MIS
Ret
DEN
14
VAN
16
MDO
14
ROA
12
NZR
12
Buick 3300 V6t INDY
16
Chevrolet 265A V8t LS
20
1992 Dick Simon Racing Lola T92/00 Chevrolet 265A V8t SRF
DNS
PHX
16
LBH
10
INDY
DNS
DET POR MIL NHM TOR MIS CLE
Ret
ROA
14
VAN
13
MDO
Ret
NZR
14
LS
15
27th 3
1993 Walker Racing Lola T93/00 Ford XB V8t SRF
11
PHX
10
LBH
14
INDY
18
MIL
13
DET
13
POR
Ret
CLE
12
TOR
16
MIS
14
NHM
13
ROA
13
VAN
12
MDO
13
NZR
21
LS
19
26th 7
1994 Dick Simon Racing Lola T94/00 Ford XB V8t SRF
15
PHX
Ret
LBH
DNQ
INDY
14
MIL
23
DET
DNQ
POR
21
CLE
15
TOR
18
MIS
6
MDO
18
NHM
Ret
VAN
DNQ
ROA
14
NZR
16
LS
Ret
26th 8
1995 Arciero-Wells Racing Reynard 94i Ford XB V8t MIA
Ret
SRF
11
PHX
Ret
LBH
19
NZR
DNS
28th 5
Reynard 95i INDY
10
MIL
19
DET
14
POR
17
ROA
13
TOR
Ret
CLE
13
MIS
Ret
MDO
15
NHM
22
VAN
17
LS
22
1996 Payton/Coyne Racing Lola T96/00 Ford XB V8t MIA
18
RIO
Ret
SRF
10
LBH
Ret
NZR
Ret
500
14
MIL
Ret
DET
19
POR
Ret
CLE
17
TOR
Ret
MIS
15
MDO
Ret
ROA
Ret
VAN
15
LS
Ret
28th 3
1997 Arciero-Wells Racing Reynard 97i Toyota RV8A V8t
Toyota RV8B V8t
MIA
Ret
SRF
Ret
LBH
20
NZR
Ret
RIO
Ret
STL
15
MIL
17
DET
19
POR
15
CLE
20
TOR
22
MIS
9
MDO
19
ROA
Ret
VAN
14
LS
Ret
FON
Ret
27th 4
1998 Arciero-Wells Racing Reynard 98i Toyota RV8C V8t MIA
Ret
MOT
16
LBH
19
NZR RIO
15
STL MIL DET POR CLE TOR MIS MDO ROA VAN LS HOU SRF FON 30th 0

References

  1. ^ http://swift-xi.com/index.html
  2. ^ Oreovicz, John (2001-08-22). "Tora Finding His Form". ChampCarWorldSeries.com. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  3. ^ "Motor Sports Dictionary - K". Dictionary of Gambling. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 

External links

  • Profile Page
  • A biography
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dean Hall
North American Formula Atlantic
Pacific Division Champion

1989
Succeeded by
Mark Dismore
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