Pursuing the festivities linked to the 90th anniversary of the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2013, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest made a point of paying homage to all the Japanese drivers who have raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours through their doyen, Kunimitsu Takahashi.
In the context of the Fuji 6 Hours which will take place on Sunday on the Japanese circuit (start at 11h00, 04h00 in France), today, Friday, President Pierre Fillon presided over a ceremony in honour of Japanese drivers.
It took place at the Fuji Speedway in the presence of numerous Le Mans drivers of today and yesteryear including Yojiro Terada, Masanori Sekiya, Shinji Nakano and Keiko Ihara, and also major figures from Japanese motor sport, local officials and the national and international press.
The highlight of the ceremony was the induction into the 90th anniversary Hall of Fame of the doyen of Japanese drivers, Kunimitsu Takahashi, to pay homage in symbolic fashion to all the Japanese who have taken part in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Thus, between 1986 and 1996 Kunimitsu Takahashi started the Le Mans 24 Hours on eight occasions, five times at the wheel of Porsche 962s and three in Hondas in which he won the GT2 category in 1995.
Takahashi has been a prominent figure in Japanese motor sport, and between 1993 and 2007 he presided over the destiny of the GTA Association, the company organising the prestigious Super GT Championship.
Thus Takahashi has been inducted into the Hall of Fame of the 90th anniversary of the Le Mans 24 Hours joining Eric Thompson (Great Britain), Freddy Rousselle (Belgium), Robert Manzon (France), Hernando da Silva Ramos (Brazil) and Dick Thompson (USA).
It is a very private circle made up of 13 members of which the following drivers having won the race four times or more are also a part: Yannick Dalmas (4), Henri Pescarolo (4), Frank Biela (5), Emanuele Pirro (5), Derek Bell (5), Jacky Ickx (6) and Tom Kristensen (9).