Kosuke Matsuura [Kohs-kay Mat-sur-ah] turned his first official laps today as a member of the 2004 IRL IndyCarÂ® Series field during opening practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway for Sunday's Toyota Indy 300. Matsuura made steady gains aboard the...
Kosuke Matsuura [Kohs-kay Mat-sur-ah] turned his first official laps today as a member of the 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series field during opening practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway for Sunday's Toyota Indy 300. Matsuura made steady gains aboard the #55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone in the two 45-minute practice sessions held today on the revamped 1.5-mile oval*. Matsuura turned a total of 98 laps and posted a best time of 24.8967 seconds (214.727 mph), just 0.2487 seconds off the fastest time of the day. The entire 19-car field was covered by 0.3586 seconds.
MBNA Pole Qualifying for the opening round of the 16-race IndyCar Series will begin at 1:15 pm ET tomorrow.
*Homestead-Miami Speedway, located south of Miami, was repaved in the fall and revamped to include variable banking to a maximum of 20 degrees in the turns (formerly banked at six degrees in the turns) with the addition of the SAFER Barrier in the corners.
Kosuke Matsuura, #55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone:
"Today was a very productive day. We were able to improve the car, and we worked together to set up the car for the race. We are not totally set, but I am very sure that the car has improved so much since the preseason open testing. I think the team did a great job, and I am looking forward to the race."
FAST FACTS: Will be making 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.
Aguri Suzuki, Co-Owner:
"Today was the first practice day for both the team and Kosuke after the preseason testing. I feel that we are getting close to the setup we want for the race, and the team is working together very hard. I want Kosuke to get used to the track and the race gradually, and I hope he will be able to win later in the season."
Tom Anderson, Managing Director:
"I am very pleased with the overall performance of the team and Kosuke today. Having a very limited number of test days prior to the first race left us doubting where we would stand at the end of the day, but looking at the times and how the car performed, and how it is starting to work in traffic, I am very happy with Kosuke's performance. I think we have a tremendous amount of potential, and I think the Panasonic ARTA team will be in fine shape on Sunday."