Sato’s win makes headlines in Japan: Takuma Sato’s victory in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach was big news internationally, especially in his homeland to start the work week.
NHK, Japan’s largest TV Network, devoted a long segment early in its national news broadcast to the first Japanese winner of an Indy car race. He was the main story on Yahoo Japan and on the front page of all the major Tokyo newspapers (a first for IndyCar racing since Danica Patrick won at Twin Ring Motegi in 2008). “Likes” and Facebook comments on the main indycar.com story showed a ten-fold increase.
“We all did banzai (traditional Japanese exclamation meaning long life) when ‘Taku’ received (the) checker(ed) flag,” relayed GAORA Sports TV director Keiichi Inamine, whose network broadcast the early-morning (in Japan) race. “We took photo with all members in our studio.”
Following a visit April 22 to Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita, Calif., by Honda team drivers, Sato returned to Tokyo for what was to be a brief vacation before the May 4-5 Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle in Brazil. Those plans certainly will be altered as Japan’s most-famous race car driver and now a national hero will be inundated with media requests.
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