Matsuura Prepares for Homeland IRL IndyCarÂ® Series Debut Kosuke Matsuura [Kohs-kay Mat-sur-ah] will be making his first IRL IndyCar Series appearance in his homeland this weekend with the Bridgestone Indy Japan 300. Matsuura, who arrived in...
Matsuura Prepares for Homeland IRL IndyCar® Series Debut
Kosuke Matsuura [Kohs-kay Mat-sur-ah] will be making his first IRL IndyCar Series appearance in his homeland this weekend with the Bridgestone Indy Japan 300. Matsuura, who arrived in Japan on March 22, will see a busy four weeks of pre-race promotions and appearances come to fruition with Saturday's 200-lap/300-mile race.
Matsuura, 24, hails from Toyoake City, located in the center of Aichi Prefecture in central Japan. While the 1.5-mile oval at Twin Ring Motegi will be a new experience, Matsuura has enjoyed victory at the state-of-the-art facility. Matsuura claimed two of his six wins to clinch the Japanese Formula Dream Series title on the Motegi road course almost four years ago to the day in April of 2000.
Matsuura has claimed 11th-place finishes in his two IndyCar Series starts to date, and posted his best qualifying effort of 10th in the most recent event. He currently sits 13th in the point standings, just six points shy of the top 10, and leads the Bombardier Rookie of the Year chase.
Kosuke Matsuura, #55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone:
"The Motegi race is approaching and I am getting very excited. After the Homestead and Phoenix races, I have gained more confidence in myself so I am looking forward to racing at Motegi. It has been four years since I last raced in Japan, so this is a very special race for me. There will be a lot of people coming to see me race, and I will try not to put too much pressure on myself and relax. I will just do my best and see how it goes."
FAST FACTS: This will be his third IRL IndyCar Series start-- finished 11th at both Homestead and Phoenix-- best qualifying effort to date was 10th in Phoenix-- currently sits 13th in the championship standings, just six points out of the top 10, and leads the Bombardier Rookie of the Year chase-- 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:
"Motivation will not be a factor as we head to Japan with Kosuke. I am sure he is going to have a tremendous amount of adrenalin going for his home race. Our big thing here is to keep everything in perspective and try to stay focused on being very competitive this weekend. This is obviously a big event for the host -- Honda. There is a lot of pressure to do well not only for Kosuke in his home event but also for the team, and hopefully we can give Honda its first win at Motegi. It is always a great pleasure and enjoyment to go to Motegi, and we are looking forward to it and all the sights and great things of Japan."
Motegi Holds Fond Memories for Super Aguri Fernandez Racing Team Owners Team Owners Adrian Fernandez and Aguri Suzuki have both stood atop the podium at Twin Ring Motegi. Fernandez is a back-to-back race winner on the oval, claiming victory in the 1998 and 1999 CART events. Suzuki claimed his victory in 1997 GT competition, and also finished second in 1999 in the Autobacs Cup All-Japan GT Championship.
Suzuki also has spent considerable time at Motegi with his ARTA [Autobacs Racing Team Aguri] Project driver development program. The kart category of the ARTA Project includes the ARTA Challenge Cup, ARTA Summer Kart School and ARTA Cup Kart which are held at Twin Ring Motegi.
Japan Race a Homecoming for Two Team Members
Although born in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, Chief Mechanic Steve Ragan spent the next 22 years growing up in Zama City -- located 25 miles southwest of Tokyo. Ragan became interested in motorsports through his father who raced touring cars. Prior to continuing his career stateside, Ragan was the chief mechanic for Japanese motorcycle F1 champion Satoshi Tsujimoto.
Mechanic Tomihiro "Tomi" Takase hails from Fujisawa, located 40 miles from Tokyo. After attending a mechanic's school in Japan, Takase traveled the globe and has worked as a lead mechanic in German F3 competition, as a gearbox technician in Formula One and in Japanese F3000 before entering the American motorsports scene.