Japanese businessman and passionate racing driver Nobuya Yamanaka sets out on his quest to race at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2020 and begins his campaign in earnest when he takes the start of the opening round of the 2018/19 Asian Le Mans Series, The 4 Hours of Shanghai on 25 November.
“Nobu” will drive a Eurasia Racing prepared Ligier LMP3 and will be partnered by young Australian driver Aidan Read, who at just 19 years of age, is already a multiple winner in the LMP3 category and also has an LMP2 Asian Le Mans victory under his belt.
The pair will contest the four-round series which visits Japan and Thailand, following the race in China, before concluding in Malaysia in March.
Over the past six months the team and Aidan have worked with Nobu on preparation for the Asian Le Mans Series with a series of tests at various Asian venues in preparation for imminent challenge – and for those bigger challenges that will follow in the years to come – with results improving with each outing.
In addition to the LMP3 test programme, Nobu has continued to develop his racing in Japan contesting the Inter Proto Series, where he leads his class by 20 points ahead of the final two rounds. A satisfying performance for the 59-year-old that only took to the race track in competition cars in 2012.
“It has long been a life dream of mine to compete at the Le Mans 24 hours,” said Yamanaka. “I set myself the goal to make the grid for the race in June 2020 as it will be my 60th birthday year and I need to be as prepared as I can be for the event.
“I am looking forward to using the 2018/19 Asian Le Mans Series as part of my learning and development focusing with Aidan on maximising my seat time and developing my technique rather than going for outright victories in a very competitive field.”
Nobu, who lives in Atami City, has entrusted reaching his targets with racing management company BAM Motorsports, based in the UK, under the direction of MD David Madgwick who has put together the programme so far.
“Rarely have I come across a more motivated driver, young or old than Nobuya,” said Madgwick. “His application and determination to reach the standards necessary have been hugely impressive so far and I am sure he will continue to grow in confidence and ability as he continues his programme to Le Mans.
“His speed in testing has been getting progressively better and having watched his race-craft in Japan in the Inter Proto Series recently, I am sure he will fair very well when he takes to the track in Shanghai later this month.”