Home Formula 2 Japanese F3 champion Matsushita takes ART GP2 seat alongside Vandoorne

Japanese F3 champion Matsushita takes ART GP2 seat alongside Vandoorne

by Peter Allen
Nobuharu Matsushita

Photo: Glenn Dunbar/GP2 Series Media Service

Japanese F3 Nobuharu Matsushita will drive the second ART Grand Prix GP2 car alongside Stoffel Vandoorne this season.

21-year-old Matsushita is backed by Honda, who linked up with ART’s GP2 squad last year as part of their renewed partnership with McLaren.

In 2014 they placed Takuya Izawa in the seat alongside McLaren junior driver Vandoorne, with the 30-year-old Super Formula regular scoring one podium in Hungary on his way to 18th in the final standings.

The Formula Challenge Japan champion in 2012, Matsushita was fifth in his rookie year of F3 in 2013 before claiming the title last year, scoring six wins in the process.

He did two days of GP2 testing with ART in Abu Dhabi last November, sharing the car with compatriot Koudai Tsukakoshi. Tsukakoshi will continue in Super Formula this year as teammate to the returning Izawa.

?First of all, I would like to thank ART Grand Prix for giving me the opportunity to race in GP2,” said Matsushita.

“I am honored to be a part of ART, which is one of the most prestigious teams in young drivers? promotion.

“The GP2 Series gives me the chance to race alongside great rivals, following the Formula 1 calendar all around the world. This is a big challenge for myself but I am determined to do my best as GP2 is the best way to race in F1, which is my dream since my childhood.

“I would like to express my thankfulness to Honda who supports my challenge, my fans, friends and family.?

Team manger Sebastien Philippe added: ?Nobuharu has a lot of experience in motorsport and his talent is a certainty just from reading his resume, including that he is the reigning Japanese F3 champion. He has no European culture, but he quickly integrated himself into the team at the Abu Dhabi tests. To finish in the top ten on his first day in GP2 was a remarkable performance.

“Nobuharu will have many new things to discover and the start of the season will be marked by a learning phase for him, but ART Grand Prix has full confidence in his qualities and in the team?s experience to help Nobuharu integrate very quickly into the discipline. With Stoffel Vandoorne by his side, he also has the ideal teammate.?

ART become the fifth of the 13 GP2 teams to official announce both their drivers for the coming season, following DAMS, Carlin, Campos and Trident.

2015 GP2 Series line-up so far
Teams Drivers
DAMS Pierre Gasly Alex Lynn
Carlin Julian Leal Marco Sorensen
ART Grand Prix Stoffel Vandoorne Nobuharu Matsushita
Racing Engineering Jordan King
Russian Time
Trident Raffaele Marciello Rene Binder
Campos Racing Arthur Pic Rio Haryanto
MP Motorsport
Arden International Norman Nato
Status Grand Prix
Hilmer Motorsport