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Masahiro Hasemi

13th November 1945 (Age 74)
Most recent race (in database):

Masahiro Hasemi began racing in motocross before switching to cars in 1965. That was as a works Nissan driver and he remained loyal to that marque throughout his career. He won his very first race in a Nissan Bluebird SSS and enjoyed success in all forms of the sport in his homeland.

National success and Grand Prix debut

His Kojima Engineering March 742-BMW won the 1975 Japanese Grand Prix – the opening round of the national Formula 2000 series – in torrential conditions. The 1976 race was the final round of the Formula 1 world championship but the weather conditions were the same. Hasemi qualified his locally-built Kojima KE007-Ford in an impressive 10th position despite crashing in free practice. Running on Japanese Dunlop tyres, the car proved a handful in the race but Hasemi was credited with the fastest lap and 11th position in his only GP.

National championship titles in the Fuji Grand Champion and Formula Pacific series were followed by the 1980 Japanese Formula 2 crown when driving Nova Engineering’s March 802-BMW. He ended that season by qualifying and finishing second in the Macau GP when his March 782-Nissan was beaten by Geoff Lees.

Continued Japanese success

A regular in touring cars by the end of the decade, Hasemi’s Nissan Skyline GT-R won the Japanese title three times with Anders Olofsson (1989 and 1991) and Hideo Fukuyama (1992) as his co-drivers.

He may not have won that title in 1990 but it was still an outstanding season for Hasemi. Japanese Sportscar Champion when sharing a Nissan R90CP with Olofsson, he finished a career-best fifth at Le Mans and dominated Macau’s Guia race. He qualified a Skyline on pole position by a staggering 3.34s for that race and led Schnitzer BMW’s Emanuele Pirro and Jo Winkelhock all the way to the finish.

Hasemi suffered suspected suspension failure on Fuji’s main straight during a 1991 Japanese sports car race and he emerged shaken but unhurt after a 200mph end-over-end accident.

Winner of the Daytona 24 Hours

The 1992 Daytona 24 Hours provided Hasemi’s international highlight when sharing the winning Nissan R91CP with compatriots Kazuyoshi Hoshino and Toshio Suzuki. He eventually retired in 2001 after quarter of a century at the top of Japanese racing and now runs Hasemi Sport which is both a GT team and Nissan aftermarket supplier.