Keiko Ihara to be the Face of Nissan's Leaf Marketing

Keiko Ihara - GRRL Power

LMP2 racing driver Keiko Ihara is now the official “face” of Nissan’s marketing efforts to “promote the development of the infrastructure for electric cars and diversity.”

Truthfully, we were only vaguely aware of “K. Ihara” a few hours ago, but make no mistake: we’re fans. Not only is Keiko Ihara is the only Japanese woman competing in the World Endurance Championship, she is the only female driver at any level whose first exposure to motorsports came when she was named a “race queen”. In other words, she’s got it all!

Ihara’s experience and success in the LMP2 class further fuels speculation that Nissan may be planning to bring a fully-electric racer to LeMans as a “next step” in the company’s participation in the “Garage 56” program for experimental vehicles. Last year, of course, the company embraced the Deltawing racer, which we covered extensively.

You can get to know Keiko a bit better in this interview, below, and stay tuned for news of a Leaf-like LeMans effort sometime after Pike’s Peak.

At the Wheel: Driver Keiko Ihara Pushes Nissan EVs

May 23 – Yokohama – Nissan is to sponsor Keiko Ihara, the only Japanese woman to race in the World Endurance Championship. She competes in the LMP2 class and her Gulf Racing car features a Lola chassis and a Nissan engine.

The partnership agreement also means she will work with the automaker to promote the development of the infrastructure for electric cars and diversity.

Keiko Ihara’s ground-breaking career on the track began by chance when while working as a model she was sent to a Formula One meeting to be a race queen.

Even though she did not have a driver’s licence, she was bitten by the racing bug. Determination carried her through, as she first learned to drive on the road, then progressed to F3 and the WEC.

This year she is due to compete at Le Mans 24 Hours.

Keiko Ihara - Nissan Leaf
Click to enlarge.

Source | Photos: Nissan.

 

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.