Super Formula rookie Hyman boosted by ex-IndyCar engineer

Super Formula rookie Raoul Hyman says his adaptation to the Japanese series has been boosted by the presence of veteran IndyCar engineer Tim Neff.

Super Formula rookie Hyman boosted by ex-IndyCar engineer
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Hyman's #51 B-Max Racing machine is being engineered by Australian Neff, the owner of the TJ Speed Motorsports outfit that took the British driver to last year's Formula Regional Americas title and now has a three-car entry in the USF Pro Series (formerly Indy Pro 2000).

Prior to going into team ownership, Neff worked in IndyCar and Indy Lights for many years as part of the Sam Schmidt Motorsports organisation that later morphed into the Arrow McLaren squad.

Neff coming on board follows B-Max expanding to a second car for 2023, with Hyman joining Nobuharu Matsushita at the team after winning the HPD scholarship for his FRA title success.

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Speaking to during last week's Suzuka pre-season test, Hyman said the luxury of working with an engineer he knows well will only be a boost as he endeavours to get up to speed in Super Formula.

"He has a lot of experience, not only at Formula Regional level but also in IndyCar," said Hyman of Neff. "I’m grateful to have him on board.

"It wasn’t a condition of me coming [to Super Formula] or anything, it kind of just worked out well like that. The team met Tim [at the rookie test at Suzuka in December] and the team was in need of a new engineer.

"They thought it was best to bring in someone who already had a relationship with me and luckily Tim was receptive to the idea.

"He only arrived from America on Monday morning [on the first day of the test], so it was a bit of a rush for him but I’m glad he did it. We started changing things and making the car more suited to my driving style.

"There’s still a way to go, and at the same time I’m also working on adapting myself and making sure I’m driving the car in the right way."


Hyman concluded the two-day Suzuka test 21st-fastest across the two days, but his best lap on the second day put him only a tenth of a second behind team-mate Matsushita.

On his goals for the opening round at Fuji, Hyman added: "I’m honestly not too sure. There’s still a lot of untapped potential in me and the car, so I haven’t quite figured it out yet."

Matsushita has also changed engineers for the 2023 season, with Yasuhiro Tasaka leaving B-Max over the winter.

Long-time B-Max staffer Masashi Miyata has stepped back up to the role he briefly occupied for one race before Tasaka's arrival in 2021.

"We had too many issues on Day 1, but [on Tuesday] we did everything we wanted," Matsushita told "I’m not super-happy about the performance, we still have to catch up.

"Having the second car has helped a lot though. Raoul improved a lot at the end of the day, it’s going to help this season. We tried different things, compared the data, which I didn’t have last year.

"My engineer [Miyata] is now checking all the data lap-by-lap, which is good because last year it was not like this.

"Let’s see, obviously we are not P1, we still have a lot to do to catch Mugen and the other top teams. We'll take it step-by-step."



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