TOKYO, Japan, February 22nd, 2017 - 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 continue the McLaren-Honda team as a Formula One test and development driver. The GP2 is recognized as a gateway to the FIA*2 Formula One World Championship (F1™).
Matsushita’s role as F1 test and development driver, in addition to his third season in GP2 racing, is the result of Honda’s program designed to find and foster talented young drivers who will play active roles in the world of motorsports, the “Honda Formula Dream Project” (HFDP).
- *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.
- *2FIA: Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile
■Nobuharu Matsushita said:
“I am very glad to be able to take part in the development as a test driver for McLaren-Honda again this year. I would like to progress further as a racing driver by making use of the experience and knowledge through the simulator work and testing in McLaren. Moreover, I will do my utmost in order to be successful in GP2 series, my main competition. I am grateful for McLaren-Honda who gave me this opportunity.”
■Zak Brown (Executive Director, McLaren Technology Group) said:
“Nobuharu [Matsushita] is now the most senior driver on the programme. He’s grown a lot during his time with us, and has tackled what was a very steep learning curve for him – the transition from Japanese Formula 3 to GP2 – with great aplomb. Meanwhile, he’s also provided valuable support to our Formula 1 project, through his extensive work in our simulator. GP2 is a tough championship to win, but we believe he’s got what it takes to do it, and importantly he’ll benefit from the stability of remaining with the ART team for his 2017 programme.”
■Masashi Yamamoto (General Manager, Motor Sports Division,) said:
“I’m delighted that Nobuharu [Matsushita] will continue to play an important role with McLaren-Honda as one of our test and development drivers. Nobu is a promising young driver from Honda’s Young Driver Programme, therefore I hope he absorbs much from the team through the programme as well as contributing to the development of the car.”
|■Profile of Nobuharu Matsushita|
||October 13, 1993 (23 years old)|
|2009||All Japan Karting Championship KF17th|
|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)|
|2016||GP2 Series 11th (One win and one 2nd place finish)|