TOKYO, Japan, February 20th, 2016 – Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced that Nobuharu Matsushita, driving this season for the ART Grand Prix team in the GP2 Series*1 has been selected to join the McLaren-Honda team as a Formula One test and development driver. GP2 is recognized as a gateway to the FIA*2 Formula One World Championship (F1).
Matsushita's new role as F1 test and development driver, in addition to his second season in GP2 racing, is the result of Honda's program to discover and nurture new talent in motor sports racing, the “Honda Formula Dream Project" (HFDP) in collaboration with McLaren Racing.
- *1The GP2 Series is a category positioned as a gateway to F1. GP2 Series races are held internationally, mostly in Europe, as support races for F1. Past GP2 Series champions have moved on to further success at F1.
- *2FIA: Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile
■Nobuharu Matsushita said:
“Last year's GP2 Series season was a steep learning curve for me as it was my first year racing in Europe. Thankfully my experiences with Honda's young driver programme meant I was well prepared for the task ahead.
“This season I am ecstatic to be joining the McLaren-Honda F1 team as a test and development driver. To step into the world of Formula One fulfils a boyhood dream and is a huge step forward in my career. I will do the utmost to help the race team on the track, by gathering data to feedback into the development and setup of the car through simulator work.
“As a GP2 Series driver, my sole focus for 2016 is to win the championship. I believe that I have the best package around me to succeed and reach my ultimate goal of becoming a Formula One driver.”
Nobuharu Matsushita's key racing career:
Born: October 13, 1993
Birthplace: Saitama, Japan
2009: All Japan Karting Championship KF1 7th
2010: All Japan Karting Championship Super KF 3rd
2011: Suzuka Circuit Racing School Formula (SRS-F) class top graduate (scholarship)
2012: Formula Challenge Japan champion
2013: JAF Japanese Formula 3 Championship Series 5th (Honda Formula Dream Project)
2014: JAF Japanese Formula 3 Championship Series champion (Honda Formula Dream Project)
2015: GP2 Series 9th (One win, one 2nd place, one 3rd place finish)