Dick Barbour Names Indy-Experienced Matsuda To Drive At Le Mans Braselton, Ga. (May 29, 2001) - Dick Barbour has named a versatile and experienced driver to replace Eric van de Poele at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans. Hideshi Matsuda will ...
Dick Barbour Names Indy-Experienced Matsuda To Drive At Le Mans
Braselton, Ga. (May 29, 2001) - Dick Barbour has named a versatile and experienced driver to replace Eric van de Poele at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans. Hideshi Matsuda will partner with Didier de Radiguès and Sascha Maassen in Barbour's #36 Reynard 01Q Judd at Le Mans. Matsuda will thus co-pilot the car that not only won, set fastest race lap and pole position in the team's second race at Jarama, Spain May 19 and 20, but also achieved the fastest lap time in its category (LMP 675) in the Le Mans preliminary trials earlier this month.
Ironically, it was the "endurance" race that is the Indianapolis 500 that brought Matsuda to Barbour's attention as he sought to replace van de Poele. Earlier this month van de Poele moved to Team Bentley for Le Mans 2001. Barbour sought a replacement with Le Mans experience. Matsuda brings that experience to the team along with versatility and strong performances in recent Indianapolis 500 races.
In fact, in the U.S., Matsuda is perhaps best known for his strong Indy 500 record. He is a popular driver there, having made the field four times since 1994. In 1996, he took a two-year old Lola-Ford all the way from the 10th row to 8th overall for Team T aisan/Beck Motorsports. In 1999, Hideshi achieved his best Indy qualifying run, putting his Beck Motorsports Dallara on the inside of the 4th row and bringing it home 10th.
Hideshi Matsuda also is no stranger to the victor's podium in road racing. He won the 1995 Japanese GT championship for Team Taisan in their Porsche GT-2. He began his winning ways in just his second racing season, winning at the world-famous Fuji circuit in just his third Formula 3 race of the 1984 season. Hideshi has a diverse driving background including Porsches, Ferraris and BMWs, Formulas 2, 3 and 3000 and also big-engine prototypes and Group C sportscars. He returns to Le Mans after a nine-year absen ce, having finished a creditable 12th overall there in 1992 driving a Judd-powered prototype. At Le Mans Matsuda will represent Laundry, one of the leading young people's fashion companies in Japan. Hideshi is also representing Denag, one of Japan's leadin g sellers of customized European automobiles.
Dick Barbour Racing has two entries accepted for this year's 69th running of the world's greatest 24-hour endurance motor race. The DBR #37 Reynard 01Q-Judd will be piloted by 2000 Le Mans LMP-675 winner John Graham of Canada along with Venezuela's Milka D uno. A third driver to complete the Graham/Duno entry will be named soon.
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