13/3/1949 - 2/6/1974
Hiroshi Kazato first made a name for himself racing in Japan then in F2 in Europe and Can-Am in the USA. He was killed in a crash at Fuji International Raceway in 1974. Hiroshi Kazato died 48 years ago, he was 25 , He would have been 73.
Hiroshi Kazato first made a name for himself at home, then in F2 racing in Europe and Can-Am racing in the USA.
He purchased a Porsche 908-024 in 1970. It had new suspension, brakes, wheels, a zero-time drive train, and the new Spyder Flounder body. He raced the 908 five times at Fuji in the Japanese Grand Championship series with mixed luck, two wins and three DNFs.
He went to the States in 1971 to race a Lola in the Can-Am championship and in 1972 he raced in Europe in the European F2 Championship with a March 722 run by Peter Bloore.
In 1973 he was back racing in Japan driving a GRD for Team Nippon.
He was killed at the Mt Fuji International Raceway in 1974 at the start of the second race of the second round of the 1974 Fuji Grand Champion Series. Two cars dicing for the lead collided and Hiroshi Kazato's Chevron-BMW and Seiichi Suzuki's vehicles crashed into them. A fire broke out, and both twenty five year old Kazato and veteran racer Suzuki perished.
The crash happened in very controversial circumstances, as apparently a driver that had started from the back of the grid had carved his way through the field at the start of the race with no regard for his fellow drivers. According to some sources, manslaughter charges were considered after the accident.
Minoru Kobayashi acquired Kazato's racecars including his 908 after his death. Kobayashi was both a friend and sponsor of Kazato. Kobayashi built a restaurant in Yamanashi, Japan called the Pit-In. The restaurant had a racing theme, and housed Kazato's 908, his Lola Can-Am car, his FII car and his Chevron.