Record updated 11-Feb-08
A former racing driver from Japan. After some experience in the Japanese F2000, he made one attempt at Formula One which resulted in the shortest ever career at the top level.
Masami Kuwashima was born in Tokyo. He started racing in 1969 in a Datsun 240Z. After some success, he switched to single seaters.
He came to Britain in 1972 and 1973 to compete in F3 and won a number of races.
In 1974 he finished 3rd in the Japanese F2000 championship, equal with Motoharu Kurosawa. However his 12 points were achieved from just one race in his March 742 BMW finishing 2nd in the last race at Suzuka in November. He aslo raced in European Formula 2 that year and was looking promising for 1975.
However halfway through the 1975 F2 season he suprisingly returned to Japan where he made two starts in his Kuwashima Racing March 742 BMW. Both races were at Suzuka in September and November and he scored two 2nd places giving him a total of 30 points and 4th place in the championship equal with Jiro Yoneyama on 30 points.
Two more races in 1976 saw him finish 4th in the Sakai Racing Team March 752 BMW at Suzuka in May. Later in the year he had one race in a Kuwashima Motor Racing Nova 512 BMW.
Kuwashima had done a deal to drive a RAM at Fuji in 1976 but this fell through at the last minute. Williams at that time was in total disarray. Jacky Ickx had left and Michel Leclère was fired. Williams had put the second drive on offer for the first Japanese GP in F1 history. So Kuwashima ended up taking the wheel of the second Wolf-Williams FW05.
He took part in the first practice session for the race, but when his sponsorship money failed to materialise, Frank Williams promptly replaced him with Hans Binder, who was not much quicker, for the second practice session and the race itself. That was the extent of Kuwashima's F1 career, and he returned to the Japanese F2000 and F2 series.
In 1977 he completed a full season of racing driving for Sakai Racing in a Nova 512B and the newer Nova 522B BMW. In March he came 5th at Suzuka, followed by a 2nd in April at Suzuka, a 4th in August at Fuji, and another 4th in November at Suzuka. This was good enough for 46 points and 4th in the Championship.
In 1978 the Japanese F2000 championship became the Japanese F2 series and Kuwashima reverted to his habit of making only occasional starts. This time he made 3 starts, each in different cars. In a Ralt RT1 BMW he came 8th at Fuji, before making a start in a Chevron B40 BMW. He then came 7th at Suzuka in a Nova 532B BMW. Those results netted him 11 points and 11th overall.
1979 was his last year in Japanese F2 when he drove 3 races in a March 782 BMW.
In 1980 he walked away to pursue other interests