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Keiichi Tsuchiya

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Keiichi Tsuchiya (土屋 圭市) born January 30 1956, Tōmi, Nagano, Japan is a professional racing driver. He is also known as the "Drift King" otherwise as Dorikin (ドリキン) for his nontraditional use of drifting in non-drifting racing events, and his role in popularizing drifting as a motorsport. He is also known for touge (mountain pass) driving.

The car he drives has become one of the most popular sports cars these days, the Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno, the car 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.

Biography

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

Racing career

National championships

He would continue to take part in the Japanese Formula Three Championship, Japanese Touring Car Championship (JTCC), the latter whilst driving a Nissan Skyline GT-R (previously in the Cosmo Oil Sierra Cosworth) in the Group A championship and later a Honda Civic in the Supertouring car championship.

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 career

When Tsuchiya was a freshman in circuit racing, he got his race license suspended due to the illegal racing that he was still doing. In the movie series Shuto Kousoku Trial, he advises street racers to leave the illegal racing scene behind if they are to become involved with professional racing.

After his retirement

After his retirement, he remained in racing and is now an Official D1 Grand Prix Judge 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 suspension company Kei Office until he sold the business in 2005. His trademark color is Jade Green, which appears on his overall, helmet and is the adopted color of the company he used to own, Kei Office. Also was the color of the D1 Grand Prix Kei Office S15 Silvia of driver and employee Yasuyuki Kazama who also wears a suit similar in pattern. On Initial D 3rd Stage the color can also be seen on a sportsbike rider overall and helmet who overtook Takumi as he was en-route to an initiation battle with Ryosuke Takahashi. The color of Tomo's racing suit from Initial D 4th Stage is also jade green, and in similar pattern to his suit. Lastly Keiichi himself is featured in one episode of Initial D right before the battle with Ryosuke Takahashi, when he calls Bunta (Takumi's father) to inquire about the young man. Here his body is shown wearing this design of race suit, however his face or helmet is not.

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, which also regularly covers the D1GP and sister video magazine Drift Tengoku which deals purely with drifting.

He has been an editorial supervisor on the televised anime Wangan Midnight and Initial D. He appeared in episode 23 of Initial D as a special guest. He also appeared in the semi biographical film Shuto Kousoku Trial 2,3,4,5 and Max and also presents in the Super GT magazine show in Japan. His life in driving has parallelism to the Initial D main character, Takumi, as both of them started out to explore their local Touge while doing regular deliveries for their family business. On Initial D 1st stage, episode 23 he was hinted at whilst Takumi's father was having a conversation on the phone with an anonymous person referred to as "Mr. Tsuchiya". "Mr Tsuchiya" addressed Takumi's father as "Bunta", adding that the memories of his drifting still "scared the shit" out of him.

Also he made an appearance opposite Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson in a Motorworld in Japan special. Showing drifting competition in the late 1980s in Japan.

After 1995, sometimes he appears as a Formula One guest commentator in Japanese Fuji TV. Though his reputation was bad at first, it is acknowledged in his comment with a peculiar cut today.

He owns a new suspension company, after Kei-Office, dubbed DG5.

In 2006, he made a cameo as a fisherman in the movie The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift in which he was also stunt-coordinator and stunt man. Although he only had one line, it is considered to be an inside joke to the drift racing community.

Quotes

  • "I drift not because it is a quicker way around a corner, but the most exciting way."
  • "Speed isnt everything, you gotta look cool on the touge too."
  • "This is fun! I wish that Toyota could make cars like this again!" (on the Toyota AE86)
  • "カウンターステアが遅いんだな? (Countersteer is late, huh?)" (from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, subbed as "You call that drifting?")
  • "Men with guts attack those corners!"
  • "The Most Important thing is Balance." (Tsuchiya says this word in every drift action)
  • "There's tension on the track, now you see how hard it is. You may be fastest on the street, but unless you know the track, you're not good enough to sit behind the wheel." (Tsuchiya speaking to Shikiba, subtitled portion, Shuto Kusokou Trials MAX)
  • "I'm afraid if I raced you on the street, I'd push you to your death." (Tsuchiya speaks to Takahiro Yamanaka, subtitled portion, Shuto Kusokou Trials 2)
  • "What is power without control?"
  • "It's so fast it will make a dead man scream" (Tsuchiya describing the performance of the Mines R34 Skyline)
  • "This is a Cefiro!" (Tsuchiya negatively describing the performance of the V35 Skyline)

Career results

  • 1977 Debut in Fuji Freshman series.
  • 1977-1984 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 1000km (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 1000km (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 Japan Touring Car Championship (Advan Altezza Touring car).
    • Le Mans 24 Hours (Toyota GT-One) -2nd overall
  • 2000 Le Mans 24 Hours (Panoz LMP-1 Roadster-S) -8th overall
  • 2000-2003 he joined team ARTA racing an NSX once again in the All Japan GT championship.

External links

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