Matsuura 11th in IRL IndyCar Series Debut Kosuke Matsuura [Kohs-kay Mat-sur-ah] made great strides in his IRL IndyCar Series learning curve today, bringing the ...
Matsuura 11th in IRL IndyCar Series Debut
Kosuke Matsuura [Kohs-kay Mat-sur-ah] made great strides in his IRL IndyCar Series learning curve today, bringing the #55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone home to an 11th-place finish in the season-opening Toyota Indy 300. Matsuura qualified 18th for his first IndyCar Series start, and was shown in seventh at the halfway mark of the 200-lap race held at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Matsuura hovered in or near the top 10 throughout the remaining laps despite losing considerable time on pit lane with a malfunctioning dash. As the highest finishing rookie, Matsuura assumes the lead of the Bombardier Rookie of the Year challenge.
Next Up: Indy 200 Copper World Classic on March 21 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Kosuke Matsuura, #55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone:
"I am so glad that I was able to finish the race. I lost the dash when I still had 70 laps to go, and also made contact with Dario [Franchitti] which was unfortunate. I was able to learn a lot from today's race. I now know what it is like to run 200 laps and race in the IndyCar Series, so I should be able to do better in Phoenix. I am looking forward to it very much."
FAST FACTS: This was his first career IRL IndyCar Series start-- 24 years old from Aichi, Japan-- began his career in karts at the age of 14-- finished third in the 2003 Formula Renault V6 Eurocup-- finished second in the 2002 German Formula 3 Championship-- won the 2000 Japanese Formula Dream Series Championship before heading to Europe in 2001 to compete in German F3-- 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--currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Tom Anderson, Managing Director:
"Today was very exciting. We had many situations that sometimes take half a season to accomplish, but we managed to do those things today. We started the race very conservatively with the front wing, so John Dick [race engineer] was putting more front wing in throughout the race. We are disappointed that we had too much understeer earlier in the race that forced the contact with Dario [Franchitti] and which we apologize for. Somewhere along the line, we had an electrical short and shorted the dash, so we told Kosuke to be extra slow with pit speed and it resulted in a loss of time there. I think Kosuke learned a lot today and his physical conditioning is good, so we are looking forward to the next race in Phoenix."