He is known for holding the record for the most participations in the 24 Hours of Le Mans without winning, having run on 29 occasions (28 of which were consecutive) since 1974. He is also third behind Henri Pescarolo and Bob Wollek for the drivers with the most participations. His best overall finish was seventh in 1995, although he has had several class victories over the years.
He began his racing career in a Honda S600 in 1969, before he was taken on as Mazda"s factory driver, a position he held through the 1990s including participating in the World Sportscar Championship and All Japan Sports Prototype Championship.
When he is not racing, he runs the Tokyo-based AutoExe (オートエクゼ) tuning business, specialising in tuning parts and accessories for Mazda. and instructs on driving at NATS (Nihon Automobile High Technical School)
He is the father of voice actress Haruhi Nanao.