Matsushita vows to “calm down” after Sugo recovery charge
Nobuharu Matsushita has vowed to “calm down” in future Super Formula races after a costly qualifying off left him just shy of a podium finish at Sugo.
Ex-Formula 2 racer Matsushita enjoyed another strong showing at the wheel of B-Max Racing’s solo Honda-powered entry on Sunday, as he charged from 13th on the grid to finish fourth.
It followed a costly off at Horseback corner during Saturday's qualifying session for the 27-year-old, which resulted in him being eliminated in Q2 – costing him a shot at challenging for pole in the wet conditions and leaving him with a lot of work to do in the race.
But a quick start combined with an early stop on lap 10 of 53 allowed Matsushita to make amends, as he finished just behind poleman Yuhi Sekiguchi in fourth place.
“I had a good start, I passed four cars at the beginning,” Matsushita told Motorsport.com. “But my pace was a disaster, the balance was really bad.
“Then we decided to pit early because we were stuck behind Yamamoto and his pace was also slow. After that I was alone on track, pushing every lap. I was lapping in the 1m08s, the other guys were doing 1m09s, so I was gaining a second every lap. That’s how I overtook nine cars.
"I think I did the best I could do [from P13 on the grid]. But if I didn’t make a mistake in qualifying it would have been much easier.
“The car was ready for a top three in qualifying, so next time I need to do the job. I am strong in the opening lap and the race pace, that’s my strong point, so I just need to calm down and put everything together.”
Nobuharu Matsushita, B-Max Racing Team
Photo by: Masahide Kamio
While Matsushita finished on the podium in a rain-soaked, shortened Autopolis race, the Sugo round marked the first dry event he had tackled with new race engineer Yasuhiro Tasaka – who came on board following the Suzuka race.
“This was the first time to drive in the dry with [Tasuka],” said Matsushita. “We didn’t know what to do the ride height, the aero or anything.
“We tried a set-up in the morning [in second practice] and it was ok, so we didn’t really touch the car after that, apart from a couple of small changes.”
Matsushita added that his better-than-expected dry weather pace at Sugo has left him hungry to challenge for a first Super Formula victory in the remaining three races of the season.
“I really want to win a race,” he said. “I personally love Motegi, I’m good at big braking zones. It’s all about the set-up and putting the whole weekend together with no mistakes on my side.
"And then I’m confident the results should come automatically.”
Fukuzumi was "praying" for no trouble on way to first win
Alesi: First SF Lights wins make up for subdued Sugo race
Ford is introducing the most extreme version of the GT to date. There have been more than a few retro-flavored special editions of Blue Oval's supercar and the new Mk IV joins them.
That’s the verdict from two of IndyCar’s biggest stars, Helio Castroneves and Josef Newgarden, following the announcement of the “100 Days to Indy” series on the CW Network. David Malsher-Lopez reports.
Racing father and son Jan and Kevin Magnussen are to team up again in next month’s Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in a Porsche 911 GT3 R in the GTD class.
As the future of sportscar racing in Europe has witnessed a tantalizing drip-drip of Le Mans Hypercars from Toyota, Glickenhaus, Peugeot, Ferrari and Vanwall, across the pond in America the LMDh era arrived with a big bang at Daytona last week as Acura, BMW, Cadillac and Porsche all hit the track together for the first time.