Hiroyuki Matsushita

Hiroyuki Matsushita

14/3/1961

Hiro Matsushita is a former driver in the Champ Car series. He is the grandson of Konosuke Matsushita, founder of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and as a result, has always carried Panasonic sponsorship.

Raised in Kobe, Japan, his first job was a newspaper boy. His grandfather is noted as the "father of Japanese electronics" and founded the Matsushita Electric Industrial Corp in Japan.

Hiro graduated from Kohnan University and worked in marketing at Panasonic. He started racing in tmotocross race without his parents knowing.

Between 1975 and 1986 he continued to race motorcycles, winning the Japanese motocross title in 1980.

When he switched to cars in early 1980s it was in rallying. In 1987 he entered first race in the USA, a Formula Ford event at Riverside. He came second at the 24 Hours of Daytona and third at the Sebring 12 Hours in 1988.

In 1989, he won the Toyota Atlantic championship by largest points margin in series history winning four out of nine events entered.

He then tried Formula Pacific in New Zealand and became the first Japanese driver to win prestigious Lady Wigram Trophy Race.

Drove for factory Spice IMSA GTP team in Daytona 24 Hours.

He graduated to Champ Cars in 1990, entering ten races with Panasonic sponsored Dick Simon Team, setting another record as the first Japanese driver in the history of IndyCar Racing. His best finish was twelfth at Portland. Finished nineteenth in IndyCar debut at Long Beach. He completed rookie test but did not enter Indianapolis 500.

1991 Became first Japanese driver in the Indy 500 starting twenty fourth in Paragon Motorsports Panasonic Lola-Buick finishing sixteenth. Starting seventeen events, his best finish was tenth at Milwaukee.

1992 Started eight races. Missed Australia because of a broken leg sustained when he crashed in Indy practice. He was out until Cleveland.

1993 Scored three points earning finishes. Tenth place at Phoenix tied IndyCar career-best finish. Led running-at-finish category completing fifteen of sixteen events.

1994 Returned to Dick Simon Racing to start thirteen races. Scored a career best finish of sixth at Michigan. Survived a frightening crash at Phoenix where his car was cut in half and completely destroyed.

In 2001, Matsushita competed in the Baja 1000 off road race in a Mitsubishi Montero. Away from the track, Hiro also owns Swift Engineering, a race car constructor which he bought in 1991. He also owns Pacific Marketing, which oversees sponsorship arrangements for Panasonic and acts as a manager for IRL driver Roger Yasukawa, who also carries Panasonic sponsorship. Matsushita resides in Newport Beach, California and is married to Akiko. They have a son Takayuki.

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