Unser Climbs for Mr. Koseki Robby Unser is excited about making his return to the mountain this year but not for the reasons one might expect. It is not to claim titles or fight for family victories. He is not racing for ego or attention ...
Unser Climbs for Mr. Koseki
Robby Unser is excited about making his return to the mountain this year but not for the reasons one might expect. It is not to claim titles or fight for family victories. He is not racing for ego or attention although it's hard not to notice this talented driver's spirit. The young legendary champion who has won The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb an unprecedented eight times returns for a very special reason. It is due to one man's love for him, a dear friend and supporter, known as Mr. Koseki, of Japan.
In 2002, after a call from Phil Layton, Race Director, Robby was encouraged to make his way back to the Hill Climb. It had been a long time coming after taking a few years away to focus on Indy Cars. Through his efforts Unser met Gunnar Heuberger who since has been a tremendous supporter and personal friend. Together they decided that trying to put together a last minute deal might compromise the quality of the run. So instead Robby agreed to be Grand Marshall for the race that year. During the event, Gunnar introduced Robby to Mr. Koseki. In what Robby states "was an amazing turn of events" one night at dinner Mr. Koseki asked a very important question. He said "Robby, I will build you a car, will you race for me?" Unser was moved by Koseki's request and overwhelmed with pride and gratitude. Robby answered "it would be an honor, thank you" The relationship was based on the highest of contracts, an integral word and handshake.
Immediately upon return to Japan Mr. Koseki's team began building Robby a custom Subaru WRX Impreza Rally Car lead by famous engine builder T.J. Speed. In the early part of 2003 the car was completed and shipped to the United States in time to arrive for the race. In June, the Team and Mr. Koseki arrived from Japan safely but the race car never made it. It had been held by Japanese customs for reasons that to this day are unclear. This did not stop the plans to race together but only delayed the inevitable and what was meant to be.
In June of 2003 during the event week the group spent time discussing their future plans. Then while accepting honors from the Hill Climb during Sunday's awards banquet Mr. Koseki made a final statement turning the subject over to Robby. He looked out into the crowded room asking him to stand. He said "Robby, I'm sorry. I love you. I will build you another race car. You will race for me next year. This I promise" and so he did. This year, on June 26th 2004 Robby Unser will drive a custom built Subaru WRX Impreza for Mr. Koseki and Sponsors Heuberger Motors, Falcon Tire Company, Mastercraft Tools, Auto Smart and Best Westerns "The Pikes Peak Inn".
Robby Unser in his own right has an incredible record on Pikes Peak. He comes from a long family history in American Auto Racing. He has time and again proven his natural born talent as a winning driver. Robby has raced the Indianapolis 500 twice placing 5th his rookie year and 8th in 1999. He won Indy Racing Leagues prestigious title "Rookie Of The Year" for the 1998 season. Robby is an FIA Hill Climb Champion, American Indy Car Series winner, and has successfully raced Stock Cars, Sports Cars, Trucks and Sprint Cars. His proudest moments and most gratifying accomplishments are in his own self built racing machines that broke records on Pikes Peak.
This year Robby will be racing something different. He will be controlling an all wheel drive car, with what we think is right hand steering competing in the Pikes Peak Open Class. It will be a road with new challenges. He is returning full circle, back to his roots. This year his race to the clouds and climb to the summit will signify so much more than ever. It is all for a good friend, a Man named Mr. Koseki who only wants Robby to have fun and enjoy racing his car. This year is a win for Robby Unser either way.
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