Matsuura to Make U.S. Debut in IRL IndyCarÂ® Series Opener Kosuke Matsuura [Kohs-kay Mat-sur-ah] will make his U.S. racing debut this weekend as the IRL IndyCar Series kicks off its16-race 2004 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Matsuura,...
Matsuura to Make U.S. Debut in IRL IndyCar® Series Opener
Kosuke Matsuura [Kohs-kay Mat-sur-ah] will make his U.S. racing debut this weekend as the IRL IndyCar Series kicks off its16-race 2004 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Matsuura, 24, of Aichi, Japan, has spent the last few months on a fast-paced learning curve after turning his first laps on an oval and in an IndyCar Series car on November 12. While Matsuura may still be learning the dynamics of his #55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone machine, he brings credible race craft to his IndyCar Series campaign.
A recent graduate of the European racing ranks, Matsuura finished third in the 2003 Formula Renault V6 Eurocup and second in the 2002 German Formula 3 Championship. He has been a member of Co-Owner Aguri Suzuki's ARTA (Autobacs Racing Team Aguri) driver development project since 1998 after climbing up the Japanese karting ranks, and equally impressed both Co-Owner Adrian Fernandez and Managing Director Tom Anderson in pre-season testing.
Matsuura will benefit from Super Aguri Fernandez Racing's experience as the team enters its second year of IRL competition, and also its continuity with no personnel changes during the off-season. The crew once again will be led by veteran Chief Mechanic Steve Ragan, with noted race engineer John Dick at the engineering helm and former IndyCar driver John Martin Sr. as spotter. Matsuura will be challenging for Bombardier Rookie of the Year honors this season.
Kosuke Matsuura, #55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone:
"This will be my first IRL race and with only four days of testing with our new G Force car, seriously, we are not ready for the race. We do not have enough data. From the point of the driver, it will be my first time drafting. I didn't do any drafting tests so everything will be a bit difficult and very different from European racing. So, I am a bit worried about this. If we can find a good setup, it will be no problem for the race but we did not find a good setup the last four days of testing. And the conditions are changing all the time. It helps that we have tested at Homestead, but just four days for a rookie driver is not enough. We need more mileage."
Aguri Suzuki, Co-Owner:
"I am very excited about the first race with a new chassis and our new driver, Kosuke Matsuura. I am also looking forward to a good second season for Super Aguri Fernandez Racing. We hope Kosuke will bring the first win to the team this year, and I am pretty confident that we will do well in the IndyCar Series."
Tom Anderson, Managing Director:
"I am very excited about the start of the new IndyCar season, our second season with our primary sponsor Panasonic. It is great to see their new programs and products for 2004. On the team side, we will be working with our new young driver Kosuke, the new G Force chassis and continuing our great relationship with Honda and Firestone. We are very interested to see how the G Force chassis matches against the Dallara. It is going to be a great weekend and start to the new season."