Kamui Kobayashi moves to Super Formula in Japan

0 Comments

After losing his seat at Caterham amid the team’s financial collapse at the end of 2014, Kamui Kobayashi has today announced that he will be returning to Japan to race in the national Super Formula championship.

In a statement on his Facebook page, the former Sauber and Toyota driver confirmed that he would be joining the series for 2015 as he looks to revive his racing career following a tough year with Caterham in 2014.

“I join Super Formula series for 2015,” Kobayashi wrote. “Happy to back my home race after 12 years in Europe. I would like provide exciting driving and amazing show on track! All races will take place in Japan so please come to Japan and let’s have a real race with me!” [sic]

Kobayashi made his F1 debut for Toyota back in 2009 before spending three years with Sauber, with the high point being an emotional podium finish at his home race at Suzuka in 2012.

For 2013, Sauber opted to draft in Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg, but Kobayashi landed on his feet by securing a works drive with Ferrari’s AF Corse team in the FIA World Endurance Championship. He finished seventh in the final GTE-Pro standings.

However, much to the fury of the Ferrari team, Kobayashi opted to walk away from the WEC in 2014 so he could join backmarkers Caterham in F1.It proved to be a disastrous move as the team’s financial woes meant it stood little chance on track

It proved to be a disastrous move as the team’s financial woes meant it stood little chance on track, and with Kobayashi not bringing backing to the team as a pay driver, he was left out in the cold and dropped for the Belgian Grand Prix to make way for Andre Lotterer. His final appearance for Caterham came in its last-minute comeback in Abu Dhabi where he retired late on.

Super Formula is a very competitive and exciting championship in Japan, and has welcomed a number of big racing names such as Loic Duval and Andre Lotterer over the past few years.

Kobayashi is unquestionably facing a fight to revive his career after his ill-fated year with Caterham, and this could prove to be the perfect platform to do exactly that.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
4 Comments

Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”