Yojiro Terada announced as Grand Marshal for the 6 Hours of Fuji
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Yojiro Terada announced as Grand Marshal for the 6 Hours of Fuji

One of Japan

Mr Terada holds the record for the most participations at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for a Japanese driver, and his 29 times competing at the French classic not only endeared him to all followers of endurance racing but also helped to bring Le Mans to the attention of Japanese motorsport fans.

Yohiro Terada is very much looking forward to the WEC’s annual visit to Japan: “This is going to be a really exciting race for race fans here, with the speed of Porsche, stability of Audi, and Toyota aiming to be the winner at Fuji. I've seen the start flag 29 times as a driver at Le Mans 24 Hours, but I'll wave the flag as Grand Marshal myself this time, hoping for the wonderful sportsmanship of each driver. I'd also like to express my heartfelt gratitude and respect to Mr. FILLON, president of ACO, and Mr. NEVEU, C.E.O. of WEC, for making this honorary function possible for me.”

Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) said: “Terada san’s loyalty and unwavering passion for the 24 Hours of Le Mans stand out over many decades. His presence there helped to not only increase the visibility in Japan of the world’s most famous sportscar race, but he has also spread his enthusiasm and delight for endurance racing throughout the Asian continent. We applaud his many successful years in the world of motorsport, and we look forward to sharing many more with him in the future.”

WEC CEO Gérard Neveu added: “We are very honoured to have Terada san as our Grand Marshal for the 6 Hours of Fuji. He has been a passionate supporter of endurance racing for so many years, and has closely followed the progress of the WEC in Japan since we began. To be competing for 50 years is incredible, and he has set an example that many young drivers would do very well to imitate. We are sure that the 6 Hours of Fuji will be a great celebration of motorsport at the highest level, and one that he will greatly enjoy being involved with.”

Biography

Yojiro Terada, 68, comes from Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, and is best known for holding the record for the most participations at the 24 Hours of Le Mans by a Japanese driver, having competed on 29 occasions (28 of which were consecutive) since 1974. He follows behind Henri Pescarolo and Bob Wollek for the drivers with the most participations. His best overall finish was seventh in 1995, although he has had several class victories over the years before his final 24 Hour race in 2008.

He began his racing career in 1969 in a Honda S600 before he was taken on as Mazda's factory driver, a position he held through the 1990s including participating in the World Sportscar Championship and the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship.

He took class wins at the Daytona 24 Hours on two occasions, including in the Mazda RX-7's debut race in 1979, scoring a GTU class win and fifth place overall. The other occasion was a fourth place overall finish and a GTO class win in 1982.

When not racing, he runs the Tokyo-based AutoExe tuning business, specialising in tuning parts and accessories for Mazdas, and instructs on driving at NATS (Nihon Automobile HighTechnical School).

2015 sees the 50th anniversary of Terada san as a driver and, to commemorate this a special event will be held in Tokyo which will also support the “Support Our Kids” programme which helps children affected by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

- FIA WEC release -

Photo: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, JUNE 17-18, 1995. At the wheel of the Mazda DG3, Yojiro Terada scored his personal best at Le Mans, finishing 7th with Franck Freon from France and Jim Downing from the United States.