Red Bull has announced that GP2 champion Pierre Gasly will race in the Super Formula series this season.
Motorsport.com first revealed Gasly was set for a switch to the Japanese championship in November, with Red Bull entering talks with both Honda and Toyota-powered teams.
The Austrian drinks firm finally confirmed on Wednesday morning that the Frenchman, who was passed over for a 2017 Toro Rosso Formula 1 seat in favour of Daniil Kvyat, will race in Super Formula.
A team has not yet been specified, but it is understood he will race for Nakajima Racing.
Gasly therefore follows in the footsteps of McLaren F1 driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who was placed in Super Formula for a season before being promoted to a race seat with the Woking squad.
"This a big new challenge for me and that is exactly what I love," said Gasly.
"It is all going to be very different, I have no experience with the car or the tracks and I know that the Japanese culture, philosophy, way of working, just about everything is different."
"In a way I am following what Stoffel Vandoorne did last year before going into F1. It is more experience to add to the GP2 campaign last year."
Red Bull also confirmed Gasly will retain his third driver role at the Red Bull Racing F1 team, and will work alongside race drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
"I am also really pleased to be third driver at Red Bull Racing for another season, to work closely with Max and Daniel, gaining more experience on how the team works, how they behave at the GPs," Gasly added.
"There is a lot to learn about the new car and new regulations, it is all very valuable."
"I think the Super Formula will help with that, a bit less power than a GP2 car so slower in a straight line but with more aero so quicker through the corners and that also relates to this year's F1 car. It will be very interesting to see how they all compare."
"I'm going into the Super Formula season with very little testing so it won't be easy at all, a car and six new tracks to learn.
"I'll still be based in Europe and flying backwards to Japan for the races there and my Red Bull Racing work here, It's going to be a great year."
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