Hiroyuki Matsushita
松下弘幸
Matsushita in 2018
Born
Hiroyuki Matsushita

(1961-03-14) March 14, 1961 (age 60)
Nationality Japan
Other names
  • Hiro Matsushita
  • King Hiro[1]
Alma materKonan University
OccupationBusinessperson, Former Racing driver
Known for
  • First Japanese driver to race at the Indianapolis 500(eighth row, 218.141 mph)
  • One of five rookies on the Indy grid
  • In 1990, finished higher than he started in eight of 10 races, third highest improvement rating among all drivers who competed in at least 10 races[2]
Title
Board member of
Spouse(s)Mitsuko Matsushita
ChildrenTakayuki Matsushita
Parents
Relatives
Family
Hiro Matsushita
Matsushita in 1990s
Retired2001
CART, Championship Car, Indy Car, American Racing Series, Champ Car Atlantic Series, Lady Wigram Trophy
Years active1987–2001
TeamsDick Simon Racing
Paragon Racing
Walker Racing
Arciero-Wells Racing
Payton/Coyne Racing
Starts158
Wins6
Podiums16
Poles3
Fastest laps0
Championship titles
1989
Awards
1998Champions Club
Signature

Hiroyuki "Hiro" Matsushita (松下ヒロ, Matsushita Hiro, full Kanji: 松下弘幸), is a Japanese Businessperson and former racing driver. Matsushita is the first and only Japanese driver to win the Toyota Atlantic Championship (Pacific) in 1989 and also the first Japanese driver to race at the Indy 500.

Early life

Matsushita was born in Nishinomiya city, Japan, and graduated from Konan University. He is the grandson of Konosuke Matsushita, founder of Panasonic, and son of Masaharu Matsushita, who served as the second president of Panasonic for sixteen years beginning in 1961. His relationship has allowed him to receive financial backing from Panasonic throughout his racing career.

Racing career

Matsushita started his career racing motorcycles in his home country between 1977 and 1979, before making the switch to four wheels. With Panasonic's backing, he then moved to the United States and entered his first Formula Ford race in 1986. He finished 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 1989 Toyota Atlantic championship (Pacific division) with the largest point margin of all time. He then tried Formula Pacific in New Zealand and became the first Japanese driver to win the prestigious Lady Wigram Trophy Race.[5]

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.[6] 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 nearly full speed. He emerged from his destroyed car with only minor injuries. 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.

Racing record

Hiro Matsushita in 1991
Hiro Matsushita in 1991

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 PHX LBH MIL DET POR
13
MEA
12
TOR
6
POC MDO ROA NAZ
8
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
19
POR
12
CLE MEA
16
TOR MIS DEN
15
VAN
23
MDO
17
ROA
18
NZR
21
LS
23
31st 1
1991 Dick Simon Racing Lola T90/00 Cosworth DFS V8t SRF
21
PHX
14
MIL
10
DET
14
POR
14
23rd 6
Lola T91/00 LBH
13
CLE
14
MEA
12
TOR
15
MIS
19
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
24
ROA
14
VAN
13
MDO
18
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
21
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
27
LBH
DNQ
INDY
14
MIL
23
DET
DNQ
POR
21
CLE
15
TOR
18
MIS
6
MDO
18
NHM
17
VAN
DNQ
ROA
14
NZR
16
LS
23
26th 8
1995 Arciero-Wells Racing Reynard 94i Ford XB V8t MIA
26
SRF
11
PHX
22
LBH
19
NZR
DNS
28th 5
Reynard 95i INDY
10
MIL
19
DET
14
POR
17
ROA
13
TOR
19
CLE
13
MIS
20
MDO
15
NHM
22
VAN
17
LS
22
1996 Payton/Coyne Racing Lola T96/00 Ford XB V8t MIA
18
RIO
24
SRF
10
LBH
28
NZR
26
500
14
MIL
28
DET
19
POR
21
CLE
17
TOR
27
MIS
15
MDO
19
ROA
15
VAN
15
LS
23
28th 3
1997 Arciero-Wells Racing Reynard 97i Toyota RV8A V8t
Toyota RV8B V8t
MIA
21
SRF
25
LBH
20
NZR
25
RIO
23
STL
15
MIL
17
DET
19
POR
15
CLE
20
TOR
22
MIS
9
MDO
19
ROA
24
VAN
14
LS
28
FON
23
27th 4
1998 Arciero-Wells Racing Reynard 98i Toyota RV8C V8t MIA
23
MOT
16
LBH
19
NZR RIO
15
STL MIL DET POR CLE TOR MIS MDO ROA VAN LS HOU SRF FON 30th 0

Lady Wigram Trophy results

Year Team Car race Laps Pos.
1989 Japan Team Panasonic Swift Cosworth 1 8 1

Toyota Atlantic Championship (pacific) results

Year Team Points Car races wins podiums pole positions Pos.
1989 Japan Panasonic Racing 141 Swift DB4 9 4 8 3 1

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

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.[7] 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!"[8]

Buniness career

Away from the track, Matsushita owns Matsushita International Corp, a Real estate, Finance & Insurance Firm and Swift Engineering, an American engineering firm known 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. He bought Swift in 1991.[9] In 2018 Swift Engineering[10] joint ventured with Kobe Institute of Computing called Swift Xi,[11] located in Kobe, Japan.[12] providing data, logistics, and operations of autonomous and robotic technologies.[13]

Private life

Matsushita resides in San Clemente, California.[14]

Awards

In 1998, Nov 2, Hiro Matsushita was awarded Champion Culbs during the CART Year End Banquet at the Century Plaza in Los Angeles, California.

Matsushita family tree

Matsushita Uemon
Yasuda KoichiroTokue MatsushitaMasakusu MatsushitaHirata TosukeMaeda Toshiaki
(前田利昭
Mitsui Takamine10th head of the Mitsui family
Tetsujiro NakaoYasueJun IueYurou IueToshio IueMumenoKonosuke MatsushitaHirata ShodoShizukoMaeda ToshisadaKeikoMitsui Takakimi11th head of the Mitsui family
Satoshi IueMatsushita SachikoMasaharu MatsushitaHirata KatsumiNobuko
Iue ToshimasaHiro MatsushitaMasayuki Matsushita
(松下正幸
Atsuko

See also

References

  1. ^ "The story of King Hiro".
  2. ^ "JAPANESE FIND HIRO AT INDY LIKE MOST 500 ROOKIES, HE KEEPS A LOW PROFILE".
  3. ^ "HIRO AT LARGE". LA Times.
  4. ^ "Canterbury Car Club (Organiser)".
  5. ^ "Hiroyuki Matsushita". historicracing.com. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  6. ^ "JAPANESE FIND HIRO AT INDY LIKE MOST 500 ROOKIES, HE KEEPS A LOW PROFILE". sun-sentinel. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  7. ^ Oreovicz, John (August 22, 2001). "Tora Finding His Form". ChampCarWorldSeries.com. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved July 24, 2007.
  8. ^ "Motor Sports Dictionary – K". Dictionary of Gambling. Retrieved July 24, 2007.
  9. ^ "HIRO AT LARGE". LA Times.
  10. ^ "The Minister of ICT and Innovation of Rwanda Ms. Paula Ingabire meets the Chairman & CEO – Hiro Matsushita". Swift Xi.
  11. ^ "Swift020 flew over Kobe for the first time". Japan CNET.
  12. ^ "安全性も性能も 一歩先行く兵庫県と神戸市の「ドローン導入」" (in Japanese). Forbes Japan.
  13. ^ "VTOL型固定翼ドローンSwift021、遭難者捜索実験などの実証実験を実施" (in Japanese). TECHABLE.
  14. ^ "OCs-Wealthiest".
Sporting positions Preceded byDean Hall North American Formula AtlanticPacific Division Champion 1989 Succeeded byMark Dismore Preceded byDean Hall Lady Wigram TrophyWinner 1989 Succeeded byCraig Baird