Manabu "Max" Orido was already a well-respected racing driver prior to Saturday's GT4 Asia race at Okayama in Japan. However, he stands to earn an even larger fanbase after he pushed his stalled BMW M4 GT4 across the finish line, when it ran out of fuel in the race's final seconds.
Orido was running first in the event and rounding the final corner of the final lap when he suddenly started to slow down. Commentators thought he was trying to kill time on the race clock, or even mess with his pit crew before inevitably taking the victory. However, once the second-place Seita Nonaka eliminated a half-minute gap and passed Orido in his Toyota Supra, everyone realized it wasn't a joke. The surprise on the faces of Orido's pit crew was crushing.
Rather than just accept a DNF (did not finish), Orido decided to get out and push his car. Am I the only one who heard Pat Benatar's "We Belong" while watching Orido heave his BMW?
Despite physically willing his car to the end, Orido and his teammate Masaki Kano finished sixth. Thankfully for them, there happen to be two races per weekend in GT4 Asia. Orido and Kano won the second race, in turn securing their overall Fanatec Japan Cup championship titles. So it was actually the perfect weekend for Orido: he not only looked awesome for refusing to give up and pushing his car, but he also won the championship, anyway.
Orido finds himself in good company. Formula 1 champion Jack Brabham famously pushed his fuel-depleted Cooper T51 across the finish line at Sebring in 1959 to rank fourth and clinch his first of three drivers' titles. That level of tenacity is what makes racing drivers special, no matter the era in which they compete.
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