Ex-Formula 2 racer Nobuharu Matsushita will make his SUPER GT debut in this weekend's Motegi race with the ARTA Honda team, standing in for an injured Shinichi Takagi.
Matsushita will partner Toshiki Oyu in ARTA's Honda NSX GT3 in the GT300 class for the final two rounds of the 2020 season, as Takagi recovers from injuries sustained in a heavy crash in last weekend's Super Taikyu round at Okayama.
Before signing with MP, which he hoped would allow him to gain the necessary Super Licence points to be in contention for a Formula 1 seat, Matsushita had been tipped for a full-time return to Japanese racing in 2020.
He tested for the Drago Corse team in Super Formula's post-season rookie test at Suzuka in December, before turning down the seat that ultimately went to Tatiana Calderon, and was also strongly linked with the Mugen Honda squad in SUPER GT.
#55 ARTA NSX GT3
Photo by: Masahide Kamio
Matsushita will be charged with helping ARTA defend the GT300 title it won last year with Takagi, 46, and another Honda protege with F2 experience, Nirei Fukuzumi.
Oyu and Takagi are currently 13 points adrift of Naoya Gamou and Togo Suganami in the LEON Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 with 42 up for grabs in the last two races.
Two-time category champion Takagi, meanwhile, is set to undergo surgery on Thursday after sustaining a fractured lumbar vertebra and right wrist in his Okayama crash.
The incident occurred on the sixth lap at the hairpin at the end of the back straight, as Takagi's Hirix Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 ploughed into the barriers at barely abated speed.
After initial checks in the medical centre, he was transported to hospital by helicopter, with Takagi providing an update on his condition on Tuesday on his personal Facebook page - underlining his desire to return to competition as soon as possible.