Hiro Matsushita

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Hiro Matsushita
Nationality  Japan
Born (1961-03-14) March 14, 1961 (age 53)
Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture
Retired 2001
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 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.. The family relationship has allowed him to receive financial backing from Panasonic throughout his racing career.

Racing career[edit]

Early career[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Away from the track, Hiro owns Swift Engineering, an aerospace firm and race car constructor which he bought in 1991. He also owns Pacific Marketing, which oversees sponsorship arrangements for Panasonic. Matsushita resides in San Clemente, California.

Nickname[edit]

Matsushita earned the nickname "King Hiro" from Emerson Fittipaldi, who was complaining about Hiro's reluctance to cede track position when getting lapped by the leaders.[1] The nickname came about as a result of the voice-activated microphone ("vox") Roger Penske's team was using. Emerson'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!"[2]

Racing record[edit]

24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

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[edit]

(key)

Indy Lights[edit]

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[edit]

Year Team 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 United States
PHX
United States
LBH
19
United States
INDY
DNQ
United States
MIL
United States
DET
Ret
United States
POR
12
United States
CLE
United States
MEA
Ret
Canada
TOR
United States
MIS
United States
DEN
15
Canada
VAN
Ret
United States
MDO
17
United States
ROA
Ret
United States
NZR
Ret
United States
LS
Ret
31st 1
1991 Dick Simon Racing Australia
SRF
Ret
United States
LBH
13
United States
PHX
14
United States
INDY
16
United States
MIL
10
United States
DET
14
United States
POR
14
United States
CLE
14
United States
MEA
12
Canada
TOR
Ret
United States
MIS
Ret
United States
DEN
14
Canada
VAN
16
United States
MDO
14
United States
ROA
12
United States
NZR
12
United States
LS
20
23rd 6
1992 Dick Simon Racing Australia
SRF
DNS
United States
PHX
16
United States
LBH
10
United States
INDY
DNS
United States
DET
United States
POR
United States
MIL
United States
NHM
Canada
TOR
United States
MIS
United States
CLE
Ret
United States
ROA
14
Canada
VAN
13
United States
MDO
Ret
United States
NZR
14
United States
LS
15
27th 3
1993 Walker Racing Australia
SRF
11
United States
PHX
10
United States
LBH
14
United States
INDY
18
United States
MIL
13
United States
DET
13
United States
POR
Ret
United States
CLE
12
Canada
TOR
16
United States
MIS
14
United States
NHM
13
United States
ROA
13
Canada
VAN
12
United States
MDO
13
United States
NZR
21
United States
LS
19
26th 7
1994 Dick Simon Racing Australia
SRF
15
United States
PHX
Ret
United States
LBH
DNQ
United States
INDY
14
United States
MIL
23
United States
DET
DNQ
United States
POR
21
United States
CLE
15
Canada
TOR
18
United States
MIS
6
United States
MDO
18
United States
NHM
Ret
Canada
VAN
DNQ
United States
ROA
14
United States
NZR
16
United States
LS
Ret
26th 8
1995 Arciero-Wells Racing United States
MIA
Ret
Australia
SRF
11
United States
PHX
Ret
United States
LBH
19
United States
NZR
DNS
United States
INDY
10
United States
MIL
19
United States
DET
14
United States
POR
17
United States
ROA
13
Canada
TOR
Ret
United States
CLE
13
United States
MIS
Ret
United States
MDO
15
United States
NHM
22
Canada
VAN
17
United States
LS
22
28th 5
1996 Payton/Coyne Racing United States
MIA
18
Brazil
RIO
Ret
Australia
SRF
10
United States
LBH
Ret
United States
NZR
Ret
United States
500
14
United States
MIL
Ret
United States
DET
19
United States
POR
Ret
United States
CLE
17
Canada
TOR
Ret
United States
MIS
15
United States
MDO
Ret
United States
ROA
Ret
Canada
VAN
15
United States
LS
Ret
28th 3
1997 Arciero-Wells Racing United States
MIA
Ret
Australia
SRF
Ret
United States
LBH
20
United States
NZR
Ret
Brazil
RIO
Ret
United States
STL
15
United States
MIL
17
United States
DET
19
United States
POR
15
United States
CLE
20
Canada
TOR
22
United States
MIS
9
United States
MDO
19
United States
ROA
Ret
Canada
VAN
14
United States
LS
Ret
United States
FON
Ret
27th 4
1998 Arciero-Wells Racing United States
MIA
Ret
Japan
MOT
16
United States
LBH
19
United States
NZR
Brazil
RIO
15
United States
STL
United States
MIL
United States
DET
United States
POR
United States
CLE
Canada
TOR
United States
MIS
United States
MDO
United States
ROA
Canada
VAN
United States
LS
United States
HOU
Australia
SRF
United States
FON
30th 0

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Oreovicz, John (2001-08-22). "Tora Finding His Form". ChampCarWorldSeries.com. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  2. ^ "Motor Sports Dictionary - K". Dictionary of Gambling. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dean Hall
North American Formula Atlantic
Pacific Division Champion

1989
Succeeded by
Mark Dismore