Matsuura Concludes Pre-Season Testing PHOENIX, Ariz. (February 12, 2004) - Kosuke Matsuura turned his final laps aboard the ...
Matsuura Concludes Pre-Season Testing
PHOENIX, Ariz. (February 12, 2004) - Kosuke Matsuura turned his final laps aboard the #55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone in preparation for the start of the 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series as pre-season testing for the 16-race schedule came to a close today in a two-day Open Test at Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona.
For Matsuura, who will be challenging for Bombardier Rookie of the Year honors, the past few months have represented a fast-paced learning curve - particularly with new 2004 testing restrictions.
"These two days were the last days of testing before the first race and, unfortunately, we are still working on finding the best setup with our new G Force chassis," said Matsuura, who turned his first IndyCar Series laps at Phoenix on November 12 in the team's former Dallara/Honda/Firestone combination.
"I need more time to work on setting up the car, and everything has been difficult these two days because of a few problems we have had. The rear [end] of the car is nervous and I hope we can fix that problem before the first race at Homestead. That track is obviously different [from Phoenix] and hopefully we can have a better car there."
Matsuura turned a total of 205 laps around the one-mile desert oval, posting a best time of 20.9317 seconds (171.988 mph).
"The very short testing season has come to a conclusion and, obviously, it is very different this year with only four test days allowed before the start of the season," noted Managing Director Tom Anderson. "With new equipment and all the changes in aero configuration that are still continuing with the G Force chassis, our four days have basically been technical exercises. I am very pleased with the progress Kosuke has made, although these four days haven't been a test of the driver at all. It has only been of the new rules, regulations and of the new equipment.
"It looks like Honda has made great gains over the winter so I am very pleased with their results during the pre-season testing, and look forward to Homestead where I know they will be very competitive. Firestone has also done a great job with the tire in coping with the new surface at Homestead.
"All in all, we still need more time - which we don't have this season - so we will do simulation work and things like that at the race shop, and work on our pit stops in order to be prepared for the first race."
Matsuura, 24, of Aichi, Japan, is a recent graduate of German Formula 3 and Formula Renault V6 Eurocup competition. He will make his U.S. racing debut in the IndyCar Series season-opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway on February 29.
"The team has been working very hard and they have been doing a very good job," said Matsuura. "We were just unlucky here, and it would definitely help to have a teammate to compare data. I am looking forward to the first race, and I am going to try my best to get a good result at Homestead."
For additional information on Super Aguri Fernandez Racing, please visit www.superagurifernandezrcacing.net. Additional information on the IRL IndyCar Series can be found at www.indyracing.com.