Keiichi Tsuchiya

Keiichi Tsuchiya (土屋圭市, Tsuchiya Keiichi, born January 30, 1956) is a professional race car driver. He is known as the Drift King (ドリキン, Dorikin) for his nontraditional use of drifting in non-drifting racing events and his role in popularizing drifting as a motorsport. In professional racing, he is a two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner and the 2001 All Japan GT Championship runner-up. He is also known for touge driving.

Keiichi Tsuchiya
Keiichi Tsuchiya 2008 Super GT.jpg
In 2008, as Executive Advisor of ARTA
BornJanuary 30, 1956 (1956-01-30) (age 64)
Tōmi, Nagano, Japan
NationalityJapan Japanese
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Years19942000
TeamsTeam Kunimitsu Honda, Team Lark McLaren, Toyota Team Europe, TV Asahi Team Dragon
Best finish2nd (1999)
Class wins2 (1995, 1999)

The car he drives, a Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno, has become one of the most popular sports cars; the car is also known as "Hachi-Roku" in Japan (hachi-roku meaning "eight six"); his car is also called "The Little Hachi that could." A video known as Pluspy documents Tsuchiya's touge driving with his AE86.

He was a consultant for the popular manga and anime series, Initial D, of which the main character Takumi Fujiwara is a character which describes him. He also served as a stunt coordinator and stuntman on The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, where he also made a cameo appearance.

BiographyEdit

Tsuchiya started his career through the Fuji Freshman series in 1977. Unlike many drivers who came from wealthy families or motorsport backgrounds, he honed his skills from street racing and became an underground legend.

Racing careerEdit

National championships
 
Nissan Skyline GT-R(1992)

He would continue to take part in the Japanese Formula Three Championship, Japanese Touring Car Championship (JTCC), the latter while driving a Cosmo Oil Sierra Cosworth and Nissan Skyline GT-R (Team Taisan) in the Group A championships and later a Honda Civic in the Supertouring car championships.[1]

Le Mans

He went on to score a class win and an 8th place overall at the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Honda NSX. In 1999 of the same race, this time in a Toyota GT-One, during the last hour while co-driver Ukyo Katayama was building up pace to the leading BMW V12 LMR he was forced into the grass by a backmarker privateer's BMW LMP, blowing the tire out. They survived the ordeal and went on to score the fastest lap but were forced to settle for second.

NASCAR

He has raced in NASCAR-sanctioned exhibition races at Suzuka Circuit (Suzuka Thunder 100) and at Twin Ring Motegi Superspeedway for the 1998 NASCAR-sanctioned exhibition and 1999 NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series races at the circuit, both named the Coca-Cola 500K.

Drifting careerEdit

When Tsuchiya was a freshman in circuit racing, he got his racing license suspended because of the illegal racing he was recording for the Drift Pluspy video. In the movie series Shuto Kousoku Trial, he advised street racers to leave the illegal racing scene if they want to become involved with professional racing.

After his retirementEdit

After his retirement, he remained in racing and is now an official Drift Muscle judge after quitting D1 in January 2011 and was Team Director for both GT500 for one year and GT300 Class of ARTA JGTC Team until the team disbanded their GT300 operation at the end of the 2005 season. He owned the aftermarket company Kei Office until he sold the business in the end of 2005 to form DG-5. His trademark color is jade green which appears on his overalls and helmet and is the adopted color of the former company. It was also the colour of the D1 Grand Prix Kei Office and DG-5 S15 Silvia of driver and employee Yasuyuki Kazama who also wears a suit similar in pattern.

He also hosts the video magazine "Best Motoring" which features road tests of new Japanese cars including a special section called "Hot Version" which focuses on performance-modified cars. He is a guest presenter in Video Option, a monthly video magazine, similar to Hot Version except regularly covers the D1GP and its sister video magazine Drift Tengoku which deals purely with drifting.

He has been an editorial supervisor on the televised anime Initial D and Wangan Midnight. He also appeared in the semi biographical film Shuto Kousoku Trial 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 was also featured in the Super GT magazine show in Japan. His life in driving is parallel to that of the Initial D main character, Takumi, as both of them started exploring their local touge while doing regular deliveries for their family businesses. He makes a number of cameos in the series: in the First Stage, he briefly converses with Takumi's father; in the Third Stage, a motorcycle rider wearing a similar racing suit overtake Takumi as he was en route to an initiation battle with Ryosuke Takahashi; and in the Final Stage, he meets Takumi in person while the latter spectates a circuit race in the end credits. The color of Tomo's racing suit from the Initial D 4th Stage is jade green and has a similar pattern to Tsuchiya's suit. He also made an appearance opposite Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson in a Motorworld in Japan special showing drifting competition in the mid 1990s in Japan.

After 1995, he sometimes appeared as a Formula One guest commentator in Japanese Fuji TV.

In 2006, he made a cameo as a fisherman in the movie The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift in which he served as a stunt coordinator and stunt man.[2][3]

In 2014, he announced a joint venture with King of Europe ProSeries in order to create King of Asia ProSeries. He would also act as one of the main judges for several important races in the King of Europe Drift ProSeries, being called in as a guest representative throughout the years.

Career summaryEdit

  • 1967: Debut in Fuji Freshman series.
  • 1971–1984: Ran selected entries in All Japan Touring Car championship.
  • 1984: Fuji Freshman series race (Toyota AE86) – 6 wins
  • 1985: All Japan Touring Car championship (Toyota AE86) 1st in Class 3
  • 1986: Corolla Sprinter Cup – 2 podium places
  • 1987: All Japan Touring Car championship (Honda Civic) – 1 win
  • 1988: Toyota Cup – 1st overall
    • All Japan Touring Car championship (BMW E30) – 3rd in Class 2
  • Macau Guia race (BMW M3) – 4th overall
  • 1989: All Japan F3 championship
    • All Japan Touring Car championship (Ford Sierra Cosworth) – 1 win
  • 1990: All Japan Touring Car championship (Ford Sierra Cosworth)
    • Macau Guia race (Ford Sierra Cosworth)
    • New Zealand Touring Car series (Toyota)
  • 1991: All Japan F3 championship (Ralt-Mugen) – 10th overall
    • All Japan Touring Car championship (Nissan Skyline GT-R) – 5th overall
  • 1992: All Japan Touring Car championship (Nissan Skyline GT-R)
  • 1993: All Japan Touring Car championship (Taisan Nissan Skyline GT-R) – 1 win
    • Japan Endurance series (Honda Prelude) – 2nd Tsukuba 12 Hours
  • 1994: All Japan GT championship (Porsche 911T) – 1 win
    • All Japan Touring Car championship (Honda Civic)
    • Suzuka 1000 km (Porsche 911T) – 1st in class, 2nd overall
    • Le Mans 24 Hours (Honda NSX) – 18th overall
  • 1995: All Japan GT championship (Porsche911TRSR)
    • All Japan Touring Car championship (Honda Civic)
    • Suzuka 1000 km (Honda NSX) – 5th overall
    • Tokachi 12 Hours (Honda NSX) – 1st overall
    • Le Mans 24 Hours (Honda NSX) – 1st in class
  • 1996: All Japan GT championship (Honda NSX) -13th overall
    • Entered NASCAR Thunder Special race at Suzuka
    • Le Mans 24 Hours (Honda NSX) – 3rd in class
  • 1997: All Japan GT championship (Porsche 911/Dodge Viper)
    • Fuji InterTec race (Toyota Chaser)
    • Suzuka 1000 km (Lark McLaren F1 GTR) – 9th overall
    • Entered NASCAR Thunder Special race at Suzuka
    • Le Mans 24 Hours (Lark McLaren F1 GTR) – qualified 10th, retired from race
  • 1998: All Japan Touring Car championship (Toyota Chaser) – 7th overall
    • All Japan GT championship (Toyota Supra) – 8th overall
    • Le Mans 24 Hours (Toyota GT-One) –9th overall
    • NASCAR at the California Speedway.
  • 1999: Le Mans 24 Hours (Toyota GT-One) – 2nd overall
  • 2000: Le Mans 24 Hours (Panoz LMP-1 Roadster-S) – 8th overall
  • 2000–2003: Joined Team ARTA, racing an NSX once again in the All Japan GT championship.
  • 2004–2005: Studied in Australia to complete inter-2 course.

Racing recordEdit

Complete JGTC/Super GT resultsEdit

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car Class Rd.1 Rd.2 Rd.3 Rd.4 Rd.5 Rd.6 Rd.7 Rd.8 Rd.9 DC Pts
1994 Team Kunimitsu Porsche 911 GT1 FUJ
SEN
FUJ
Ret
SUG
1
MIN
2
7th 35
1995 Team Kunimitsu Porsche 911 GT1 SUZ
14
FUJ
3
SEN
4
FUJ
8
SUG
8
MIN
Ret
10th 28
1996 Team Kunimitsu Honda NSX GT500 SUZ
Ret
FUJ
8
SEN
12
FUJ
7
SUG
10
MIN
11
17th 8
1997 Team Taisan with Advan Dodge Viper GTS-R GT500 SUZ
FUJ
SEN
10
FUJ
Ret
MIN
14
SUG
8
23rd 6
1998 TOYOTA TEAM SARD Toyota Supra GT500 SUZ
3
FUJ
C
SEN
4
FUJ
9
MOT
Ret
MIN
3
SUG
Ret
6th 36
1999 TOYOTA TEAM SARD Toyota Supra GT500 SUZ
16
FUJ
15
SUG
Ret
MIN
7
FUJ
10
TAI
13
MOT
Ret
22nd 5
2000 Autobacs Racing Team Aguri Honda NSX GT500 MOT
7
FUJ
Ret
SUG
15
FUJ
1
TAI
Ret
MIN
Ret
SUZ
Ret
13th 24
2001 Autobacs Racing Team Aguri Honda NSX GT500 TAI
2
FUJ
6
SUG
2
FUJ
12
MOT
11
SUZ
1
MIN
Ret
2nd 56
2002 Autobacs Racing Team Aguri Honda NSX GT500 TAI
7
FUJ
4
SUG
13
SEP
6
FUJ
9
MOT
8
MIN
8
SUZ
2
10th 46
2003 Autobacs Racing Team Aguri Honda NSX GT500 TAI
11
FUJ
Ret
SUG
11
FUJ
11
FUJ
12
MOT
8
AUT
Ret
SUZ
6
19th 9

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans resultsEdit

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1994   Kremer Honda Racing
  Team Kunimitsu
  Kunimitsu Takahashi
  Akira Iida
Honda NSX GT2 222 18th 9th
1995   Team Kunimitsu Honda   Kunimitsu Takahashi
  Akira Iida
Honda NSX GT2 275 8th 1st
1996   Team Kunimitsu Honda   Kunimitsu Takahashi
  Akira Iida
Honda NSX GT2 305 16th 3rd
1997   Team Lark McLaren
  Parabolica Motorsports
  Akihiko Nakaya
  Gary Ayles
McLaren F1 GTR GT1 88 DNF DNF
1998   Toyota Motorsports
  Toyota Team Europe
  Ukyo Katayama
  Toshio Suzuki
Toyota GT-One GT1 326 9th 8th
1999   Toyota Motorsports
  Toyota Team Europe
  Ukyo Katayama
  Toshio Suzuki
Toyota GT-One LMGTP 364 2nd 1st
2000   TV Asahi Team Dragon   Akira Iida
  Masahiko Kondo
Panoz LMP-1 Roadster-S LMP900 330 8th 7th

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Keiichi Tsuchiya. driftjapan.com
  2. ^ Fast & Furious 6. "10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Fast & Furious Films". BuzzFeed.
  3. ^ The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (DVD).

External linksEdit