Super Aguri Fernandez Racing is first out of the box to announce their 2005 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series plans, bringing back potential Bombardier Rookie of the Year candidate Kosuke Matsuura to the #55 Panasonic/ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone Indy car.
Continuity is so important in motorsports, team owners' Fernandez, Aguri Suzuki and Tom Anderson recognize. "I am very happy to be able to participate in the 2005 IndyCar Series season with Kosuke Matsuura as our driver," said Suzuki, one of Japan's most successful racing drivers and the first from that country to take a podium finish in FIA Formula One racing.
"Our goal for the next year is to join the championship battle with Kosuke," Suzuki continued, "and we are looking forward to many exciting races for the IndyCar Series fans. Kosuke's inquisitive spirit has inspired the team members and the team has improved so much during this year. This team has grown together with Kosuke," he said.
"First of all, I am very happy to be able to stay with Super Aguri Fernandez Racing," Matsuura stated. "I would like to show everything that I learned this year and do my best to join the championship battle next season.
"I am very privileged," he related, "to be able to contract with the team at this point of the season, so we can begin to prepare for next year. The team has a very high motivation and I believe that we will be able to get very good results." Matsuura is currently in first place for Bombardier Rookie of the Year honors with a 36-point advantage over Ed Carpenter with two races remaining.
An astute racer, Anderson stated, "Kosuke has demonstrated a competitive level of natural ability and learning capability this season. For these reasons we believe he has the ability to build on his first year in the IRL and be in position to challenge for race wins next season.
"The enthusiasm that Kosuke brings to the team has become a welcome addition," added Anderson. "Which we believe adds to a formula for success. We are very proud of our relationship with partners Panasonic, Autobacs, Honda and Firestone, and we are very much looking forward to the 2005 IRL season."
Panasonic vice president of brand strategy group, Gene Kelsey remarked, "We are pleased to be a sponsor of the Panasonic Super Aguri Fernandez Indy Racing League team and we are very proud of Kosuke's successful rookie season. With two races left in the season, he has already earned close to $1 million, placing him in the top third of the earnings list.
"All of us at Panasonic look forward to the start of the 2005 IRL season on March 6th at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida City, FL, where Kosuke will once again wear the Panasonic Super Aguri Fernandez Racing colours."