Japanese Formula Pacific 1980

With only two months between the end of the 1979 season and the start of the new one, it was no surprise that the field looked much the same. 1978 champion Masahiro Hasemi won the opener by a mile in his ageing Chevron B40-Nissan with Kenji Takahashi,who had won the last race of 1979 in the Nova 53P-Nissan, finishing second. Fumio Muto was next in the Central 20 Racing Team's latest converted F2 car, a Chevron B42, but 1979 champion Takao Wada in his March 79B was a retirement.

The remainder of Hasemi's season is a bit of a puzzle as he was said to have a March 792 at the next race, then back the Chevron for one race, then into a March 802 for three races and finally a March 79B for the last two events. Hasemi had driven a March 792 in Japanese F2 in 1979 and took delivery of a new 802 early in the year so the idea that his 792 would be converted to Formula Pacific specification makes complete sense. An 802 is a possibility but all the Japanese deliveries of 802s can be explained by the cars running in F2, so it is possible that this '802' was actually the 792 with updates. Similarly the '79B', which he also ran at the statt of the 1981 season, could mean a 792 in Formula Pacific specification.

With Wada struggling to reproduce his 1979 form, the challenge to Hasemi came from Satoru Nakajima, who had acquired another Chevron B40 fitted with a powerful Tom's-built Toyota engine. The Chevron-Toyota won at Fuji in April and at Tsukuba in August but Hasemi in his various March-Nissans won every other race. The better midfield runners included Kenji Takahashi with the Tomei team's choice of Nova, Hayashi and March; Keiichi Suzuki with a Ralt RT1, and Fumio Muto with his choice of Central 20's Chevrons.

The races

13 Jan 1980 > Suzuka

02 Mar 1980 > Tsukuba

13 Apr 1980 > Fuji

27 Apr 1980 > Tsukuba

08 Jun 1980 > Tsukuba

31 Aug 1980 > Tsukuba

14 Sep 1980 > Sugo

03 Nov 1980 > Suzuka

1980 Japanese Formula Pacific Championship table

1Masahiro HasemiChevron B40 - Nissan LZ14
March 792 - Nissan LZ14
March 802 - Nissan LZ14
March 79B - Nissan LZ14
80 pts6 wins
2Satoru NakajimaChevron B40 - Toyota 2T-G Tom's57 pts2 wins
3=Kenji TakahashiNova 53P - Nissan LZ14 Tomei
Hayashi 80P - Nissan LZ14 Tomei
March 79B - Nissan LZ14 Tomei
44 pts 
3=Keiichi SuzukiRalt RT1 - Ford BDD Hart44 pts 
3=Fumio MutoChevron B40 - Nissan LZ14
Chevron B42 - Nissan LZ14
44 pts 
6Naohiro FujitaMarch 782 - Toyota 2T-G Tom's36 pts 
7Takeshi IidaFalcon 78A - Ford BDD Swindon28 pts 
8=Kiyoshi MisakiChevron B40 - Toyota 2T-G Toda
Ralt RT1 - Toyota 2T-G Toda
18 pts 
8=Masatomo ShimizuMarch 782 - Nissan LZ14 Central 2018 pts 
10Keiji MatsumotoMarch 782 - Nissan LZ1415 pts