ART Grand Prix confirm Matsushita for a second season
Honda protégé continues with French squad in 2016
After a successful campaign with their partners Honda and McLaren in 2015, where ART GP and Stoffel Vandoorne claimed championship honors, the ART/Honda/McLaren collaboration will be aiming high in 2016 as they highlight the natural talent coming out of Honda’s home ground, Japan. The aim is to accompany both drivers as they rise through the ranks to the highest level of Motorsport. This project is part of a global campaign that will see ART Grand Prix have not one, but two talented young Japanese drivers racing for them this season.
Firstly the team confirms that 22 year old Nobuharu Matsushita will remain with the French based squad for a second consecutive season. Nobuharu had an incredible first season in the Formula One feeder series, a championship that was totally unknown to him this time 12 months ago. He delivered several noteworthy performances for the team throughout 2015, which saw three podium finishes including one on the top step for his maiden victory in the series. ART Grand Prix was impressed by his desire to learn and progress and firmly believe that a second season with the young Japanese driver will prove to be even more successful.
ART Grand Prix is also pleased to announce the signing of Nirei Fukuzumi for its upcoming GP3 campaign. The 19 year old Japanese racer tested for the team for two days at the Yas Marina circuit late last year and impressed team bosses with how quickly he adapted to his new environment, including a top ten finish on his first day out!.
Nirei kicked off his open- wheeler career in 2014 after racing in the CIK-FIA in 2012. In 2015 he joined the Japanese F3 championship where he finished 4th overall with 2 wins to his name. Now with the guidance of the GP3 reigning champion, ART Grand Prix, Fukuzumi will be aiming for even stronger results in 2016.
“I would like to thank Honda and ART Grand Prix for giving me this opportunity to continue racing in GP2 Series. ART Grand Prix won the championships last year, and I am so honored to be part of such an amazing team again. As a member of HFDP, Honda Formula Dream Project, aiming to be the top-world-class driver, I will give my best to win the drivers and the team championship in my second GP2 season.”
“I am very excited to race in GP3 Series with ART Grand Prix. I think it will be a challenging year for me in a new environment and with a lot to learn but I will do what I can to get the best possible result at every race. I am very thankful to Honda and ART Grand Prix for giving me this great opportunity in GP3 and I am looking forward to all the new experiences.”
Sébastien Philippe (Team Manager):
“I am truly delighted to start our 3rd year of partnership together with Honda with this reinforcement of our collaboration. Firstly, Nobuharu will partner Sergey Sirotkin in the GP2 Series. He had an incredible year in 2015 when he did not know Europe or the championship, the team and the car, but nevertheless he secured one win, several podiums and made massive improvements all year long. As a driver and on a personal level, we have no doubt at all that he has all the assets needed to fight for the title in 2016.
I am also happy to welcome another hot property linked with our partner Honda, Nirei Fukuzumi, to our GP3 Series team. Last December, he showed us during the Yas Marina tests that he has very interesting potential. Just like Nobuharu last year, 2016 will be a learning phase for Nirei. He will have to learn everything from scratch, but we are confident ART Grand Prix has the knowledge to give him the best conditions to do so and we expect Nirei to fight for podiums after only a few race weekends of adaptation.”
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