- March 26, 1947
- Not Active
Yojiro Terada is a Japanese racing legend who is among three drivers with the most participations in the world's greatest race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Terada's best overall result was the seventh place in 1995 in a Kudzu-Mazda LMP2 prototype. He scored four class victories and seven more class podiums. He also took class wins at Daytona 24 Hours three times.
For most of a career, Terada was the Mazda factory driver. Although he isn't active professionally in racing for more than two decades, Terada most recently raced at the age 70 in a couple of races as a part of support programme to 2017 Le Mans 24h.
Mazda factory driver for almost entire career
Born in March 1947 in Kobe, Terada started his racing career in the late 1960s, racing in a Honda Sports 600 before he became a Mazda factory driver in the early 1970s, retaining that position until the 1990s.
In 1973, Terada was racing in a Sigma GC73-Mazda in sports car races in Japan, then traveling to Europe in June 1974 for his first attempt at Le Mans 24 Hours. In his debut at Circuit de la Sarthe, Terada was sharing the #25 Sigma MC74-Mazda with Yasuhiro Okamoto and Harukuni Takahashi, completing 155 laps and not being classified in the official results.
GTU class victory at 1979 Daytona 24 Hours
In the following years, Terada continued to race in national events with different Mazda cars - Sigma-Mazda, Chevron-Mazda or Mazda RX-3. In February 1978, he made a debut at Daytona 24 Hours in a Mazda RX-3 GTU, not finishing the race.
Next year, the success came with Mazda RX-7. Sharing a car with Yoshimi Katayama and Takashi Yorino, Terada finished fifth overall and took the GTU class victory at Daytona. In July 1980, Terada joined TWR Mazda Motul Team to drive Mazda RX-7 at Spa 24 Hours, finishing just 22nd.
Return to Le Mans in 1981, GTO class win at Daytona in 1982
Terada's second race at Circuit de la Sarthe followed in 1981, and then he was returning for 28 consecutive times until 2008. Prior to Le Mans return, he scored GTU class win at Silverstone 6 Hours in May 1981, together with Win Percy in a Mazda RX-7. At Le Mans, they didn't finish the race, sharing a car with Hiroshi Fushida.
In January 1982, Terada won GTO class at Daytona 24 Hours in a Mazda RX-7, sharing a car with Yoshimi Katayama and Takashi Yorino. In that year's Le Mans race, Terada was 14th in a Mazda RX-7, together with Takashi Yorino and Allan Moffat.
Class victory at Le Mans 24 Hours in 1983
The first success for Terada at 24 Hours of Le Mans came in June 1983, in a Mazda 717C prototype. He was sharing the #60 car with Yoshimi Katayama and Takashi Yorino, finishing 12th overall and first in C Junior class.
In the following years, Terada was driving new evolutions of Mazda prototypes (727C, 737C or 757) but without notable results. He scored one more GTU class win at Daytona instead, in 1985 with Mazda RX-7.
Two GTP class wins at Le Mans in 1988 and 1990
The next success at Le Mans came in 1988. Terada was sharing the #203 Mazda 757 with David Kennedy and Pierre Dieudonne, finishing 15th overall and first in GTP class. In 1989, a new Mazda 767 came and Terada was on a podium again, finishing third in GTP class together with Marc Duez and Volker Weidler.
The third class victory at Le Mans came in 1990, at the wheel of the #203 Mazda 767B. Terada's co-drivers were Yoshimi Katayama and Takashi Yorino. In 1990, besides racing with Mazda, Terada was also driving a Ford Sierra RS500 in the Japanese Touring Car Championship, scoring one podium.
Eighth place in the historic 1991 Le Mans race
Terada was a member of Mazdaspeed team in a historic 1991 Le Mans race, in which Mazda scored it's only Le Mans victory ever. The winners in the #55 Mazda 787B were Volker Weidler, Johnny Herbert and Bertrand Gachot. Terada was driving the #56 car, finishing in the eighth place together with Takashi Yorino and Pierre Dieudonne.
Terada spent one more season as a full-time driver in Japanese and World Championship sports car races with Mazda. His car in 1992 was a Mazda MXR-01. At Le Mans, he didn't finish the race.
Racing with Lotus in 1993
Terada slowed down his racing activities in 1993, participating in just two races with Chamberlain Engineering's Lotus Esprit Sport 300. He retired at Le Mans and finished sixth at Suzuka 1000 Kilometers.
In 1994, he returned to Mazda, finishing 15th overall (second in class) at Le Mans in a Mazda RX-7 GTO. From 1994 to 1996, Terada spent three seasons with Mazda Lantis and Mazda Familia in the Japanese Touring Car Championship but without notable results.
1996 - one more class victory at Le Mans with Mazda
In 1995, Terada raced at Le Mans in a Kudzu DG-3 Mazda prototype, finishing seventh overall and third in class, together with Jim Downing and Franck Freon. The same trio returned to 1996 Le Mans in the #20 Kudzu DLM-Mazda LMP2 prototype, taking class victory.
Terada recorded one more Le Mans start in a Kudzu-Mazda prototype in 1997, finishing sixth in LMP class. He also appeared in a Kudzu-Mazda at Daytona 24h and Sebring 12h in 1998.
Four more class podiums at Le Mans
From 1998 to 2008, Terada recorded eleven more attempts at Le Mans, scoring podiums in different classes (LMP675 or LMP2) four times. He was driving a variety of cars, including Courage C36-Porsche, Riley & Scott-Ford, WR LMP-Peugeot, WR LMP-Mazda, Lola-Zytek, Dome-Mader and Courage LC70-Mugen.
He scored three podiums with Welter Racing's prototypes in 2000, 2001 and 2004. His last Le Mans podium was in 2006 with Binnie Motorsports, when he finished second in LMP2 class in a Lola B05/42-Zytek.
Returning to the race track in 2013 and 2017
When not racing, Terada was running his Tokyo-based AutoExe tuning company and working as an instructor at Nihon Automobile High Technical School. He returned to racing on two occasions in 2013 and 2017.
In 2017, Terada participated in one round of the Michelin Le Mans Cup, driving the #91 DKR Engineering Adess 03-Nissan LMP3 prototype in a support race of the Le Mans 24h event.