News & Multimedia

Japanese Stars Sato, Muroya Compare Secrets of Speed on Track, in Air during IMS Visit

As cameras clicked in a frenzied sequence of photographs, aerobatic pilot Yoshihide Muroya lifted the hand of fellow Japanese countryman Takuma Sato to get a closer look at two diamond-studded winner rings.

Sato smiled at the extra attention shown the gold keepsakes that commemorate his career-defining May triumph in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

Muroya hopes he’ll walk away from Indianapolis Motor Speedway with his own memorable accomplishment after the Red Bull Air Race on Sunday. He’s in second place in the Master Class, four points behind Martin Sonka of the Czech Republic, entering the finale to decide the World Championship.

Sato’s popularity soared in Japan after the Verizon IndyCar Series driver swigged the milk in May. Muroya has his share of fans, too, as the first Asian pilot in the Master Class. He has three wins this year, but the most meaningful victory came last year at home in Chiba, Japan, in front of 90,000 fans. He repeated that victory this season.

“The Air Race is getting more popular and him winning in Japan’s race, people realize him more and more,” Sato said. “This year, for the final race, he’s fighting for the championship at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That’s such a great story. I can’t miss it. So I had to fly from Japan to this specific race.”

One racer to another, Sato considered Muroya quite the gentleman.

“The first time I met him today, but it didn’t feel that way,” Sato said. “It feels like we’ve known each other a long time.”

The modest Muroya, 44, admitted he’s always admired Sato, 40, after watching him for years in television interviews.

“He’s a good champion,” Muroya said. “He’s more famous, much more. He drove Formula One before and then won the Indy 500. He’s the top. That was big news in Japan. Everybody knows him.”

Sato’s rings weren’t the only things given closer inspection in that infield hangar. Muroya showed his new friend the Edge 540 V3 airplane used to soar through Air Gate inflatable pylons on an infield course at speeds in excess of 200 mph.

“I’m really fascinated,” Sato said. “Flying and driving are different things, but there’s a lot of similarities. These are ultra-competitive machines, and the philosophy is the same. He’s been doing this a long time, and he’s obviously one of the best pilots. I really enjoy talking to him.”

Their conversation didn’t just pertain to racing. Both would like to give the other a two-seater ride in their respective machines.

“We’d love to do that here at IMS,” Sato said. “Unfortunately with the logistics, we can’t do the two-seater ride for him here today. We’ll figure it out, and maybe it’s something we can do in Japan.”

Muroya has a two-seater plane back home.

“Yeah, some day, hopefully we can fly together,” he said.

Pilots withstand as much as 10 G’s in their planes whereas IndyCar drivers endure up to 6 G's when zooming around this famed 2.5-mile oval. Sato was unaware that IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe got sick after taking a recent two-seater flight with two-time world champion Kirby Chambliss.

But that didn’t discourage Sato.

“These are incredible machines; I want to do it,” he said. “I don’t want to lose my breakfast, but I’d like to give it a go.”

Sato and Muroya shook hands once more and wished each other well. As much as Muroya enjoyed the meeting, he quickly shifted his focus back to winning a race.

“I’d just like to be the World Champion in air racing,” he said. “That’s it.”

While it doesn’t matter much to him, maybe then a few more people will recognize him like they do Sato.

As Sato departed the hangar area, a member of the IMS Safety Patrol didn’t recognize him from a distance. That changed after Sato walked by up close.

“That’s not a pilot!” the IMS Safety Patrol member said. “That’s the Indy 500 winner right there!”

Visit IMS.com to purchase tickets for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship and for more information on the event weekend. Children 15 and under receive free General Admission when accompanied by an adult General Admission ticket holder.

An interactive Fan Guide for the event also is available at www.ims.com/RBARFanGuide.

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Takuma Sato
 
Japanese Stars Sato, Muroya Compare Secrets of Speed on Track, in Air during IMS Visit
At the holy grail of motorsport – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato met fellow countryman and Red Bull Air Race pilot Yoshihide Muroya to discuss the art of motorsport. The season finale this weekend will determine whether Muroya brings home Japan’s first World Championship trophy in the sport.
Read More
Related Media
Turkey at IMS
 
10 Reasons for Every IMS Fan To Be Thankful
Thanksgiving is a time for family, for introspection about the route of our lives since last November and for counting blessings. It’s no different for fans of racing and of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. So here are 10 things every IMS fan can be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
Read More
RBAR 2018 Date
 
Red Bull Air Race Returns to IMS Oct. 6-7, 2018
In 2018, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship will make eight stops around the globe, featuring classic series destinations and exciting surprises like a premiere in Cannes – the first French race in the history of the sport. Here’s a preview.
Read More
Legends Sale Announcement
 
Race Fans Can Start Holiday Shopping Engines, Get Great Deals Nov. 18 at IMS
Race fans can get a turbocharged start to their holiday shopping at the 2017 End of Season Sale on Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with great deals available on a wide variety of IMS and INDYCAR apparel, collectibles and more.
Read More
Yoshihide Muroya
 
Muroya Wins Red Bull Air Race, World Championship in Dramatic Day at IMS
Yoshihide Muroya of Japan flew to his first Red Bull Air Race World Championship in dramatic style Sunday, winning the season-ending event with a track-record run in the final round at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Martin Sonka
 
Sonka Keeps Cool As World Championship Showdown Looms on Race Day
Martin Sonka doesn’t even want to think about the obvious, let alone discuss it. But there’s only so much reality he can block out. Sonka, the Master Class points-leading pilot from the Czech Republic, can claim his first World Championship with a victory in the Red Bull Air Race on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 235
Latest Tweets
It's Pole day on @CrownRoyal Armed Forces Weekend & we can't wait to see you! Check out details on the day: https://t.co/yKQ6Db3YRK
May 21
 
We've created a new webpage that will help even an #Indy500 first-timer enjoy Race Day like a pro! Check it out:… https://t.co/kB4UhMmAKR
May 21