Masahiro Hasemi

Masahiro Hasemi

13/11/1945

One of Japan's greatest drivers, he caused a stir in his one and only Grand Prix in Japan in 1976 when he nearly put the locally built Kojima on pole. He set the fastest lap in the race but only finished 11th. He won the 1992 Daytona 24 Hour race with Kazuyoshi Hoshino and Toshio Suzuki.

Masahiro Hasemi was born in Tokyo and started in motorcross when he was 15. Hasemi turned to racing cars in 1964 with a Nissan Bluebird.

He caused a stir with the locally built Kojima in his one and only Grand Prix in Japan in 1976. Benefiting from special Dunlop wet-weather tyres, Hasemi qualified 10th, after an error which cost him a chance at pole position, outqualifying Depailler, Jarier, Nilsson, Stuck and Fittipaldi. In the race he finished 11th, seven laps behind the winner. He did set the fastest lap of the race.

In 1980 he achieved a grand slam in Japan by winning the four major national championships; the All Japan Formula 2, Suzuka Formula 1, the Grand Championship for sports cars and All Japan Formula Pacific title.

In the nineties Masahiro ran his own Nissan Skyline in the All-Japan GT championship, as well as racing an Opel Vectra in Japanese Touring Cars, winning the Championship in 1989, 1991 and 1992. He also won the Japanese Sports Prototype Championship in 1990 and took a controversial win at the Guia Touring Car race at the Macau Grand Prix when his Nissan turbo blew away the competition.

As a member of the NISMO Nissan sports-prototype team, he competed regularly at Le Mans, but enjoyed his greatest success in winning the 1992 Daytona 24 Hours with his compatriots Kazuyoshi Hoshino and Toshio Suzuki.

Masahiro retired in 2001 and now runs Hasemi Sport, a JGTC racing team and Nissan aftermarket parts company.

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