Heroes 2’ part1 Keiichi Tsuchiya

Now in second gear we are gathering great momentum as we shine the spotlight on another motoring giant. His name, Keiichi Tsuchiya, from Japan.

How is it that a 64-year-old man from japan can single handedly nab the title ‘Drift King’ for himself while making his name synonymous with the brilliant art of drifting? Now Keiichi Tsuchiya is old so it goes without saying that a large chunk of people don’t know about him or they might not appreciate his legendary accomplishments so if that’s the case with you that’s why we’re doing this one. Amongst most things Keiichi Tsuchiya is a professional race car driver who is famous for wearing a green-racing suit and although he has many other achievements it’s the one that has the most significance. Keiichi Tsuchiya Being a two time 24 hours of Le Mans class winner (once in a Honda NSX in 95 and then a Toyota GT-One in 99), Mr Tsuchiya is no stranger to speed but it might interest most of you that don’t know that his career building skills were honed on the streets.

Keiichi Tsuchiya was dominant on the streets as a young banzai racer before his track prowess had even come-on.He got in trouble for the illegal street racing of course, as it is generally frowned upon in most countries, having his racing licence suspended for it back in the early years. Although back then he was involved in professional circuit racing that’s where he built his reputation for driving through his side window. Drifting. It is commonly known now that Mr Tsuchiya was afraid of boring the spectators with his consistent race dominance and so he started drifting his car every time he would be in the lead. I know that it was a long time ago when he did this but the only other time,I’ve seen that happen was with a controller in my hand. This was all so impressive coming from the kid who perfected his driving out on the twisty winding Japanese roads (touge) by performing illegal street races. He does openly speak against street racing nowadays but to think how good a person got from just racing down mountain roads.

He did manage to make some good use of his street racing knowledge by contributing as a source for the hit manga-series Initial-D, which is where some of his strong following also comes from. His car of choice being the beloved Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno or just the 86, being one of his life long projects the AE86 has benefited over the years from his attachment to it.He has done so much for that car it deserves its own series of articles done on it. From parts development to chassis optimisations to engine tuning, the little AE86 has Keiichi to thank for it and to this day the man still owns and drives his signature green-bonnet AE86.

Apart from his love for the 86 he’s also had arguably one of the best loved motoring shows called “Best Motoring”, this show has been running since 1987 and its showing no signs of it slowing down. Best Motoring was and is one of the most thrilling shows that includes vehicles because its one of the few places where a group of professionals can bring any group of cars and just put them to their ultimate paces. Anyone can just go online to find a grainy 480p quality video on RX7 vs NSX vs GTR vs Supra vs F40 vs Ruf, basically these were the go-to guys when it came to car content in the late 80s, 90s, 00s, 10s and even today. If this show’s long running time does not solely prove or cement Mr Tsuchiya’s name in the Hall of Fame as a true car and driving aficionado then I don’t know what else can. Keiichi Tsuchiya also (“Dori-Dori or DK” on the show) is part of the long list of original hosts and because of their continual and long-standing support it’s become more of a car-family. What is most impressive about the show is how all the drivers possess a great level of car control and their competitive nature just fuels each episode with a zest that really is hard to come-by anywhere else without feeling too forced.

Now I could go-on about Best Motoring but that would be unfair to the other fields that Mr Tsuchiya has so fearlessly traversed. He featured in a short NASCAR sanctioned series at the famous Suzuka Circuit and The Twin Ring Motegi Speedway in 98 and 99 consecutively. I was impressed at this man’s depth of talent. Despite him not winning his NASCAR races he displayed no discomfort or any added difficulty when he was behind the wheel of his green NASCAR-race car. I want to mention the JTCC which is Japanese Touring Car Championship where he also had great involvement driving the brilliantly liveried Team Taisan R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R, red and black being the dominant colours here…

There’s obviously a little bit extra that’s left on our legend Mr Keiichi Tsuchiya so be sure to tune in next week for the last part.

Author: Kudzanai Manyau

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