Honda youngster Nobuharu Matsushita closed out the final day of GP2’s post-season test in Abu Dhabi at the top of the timesheets for ART Grand Prix.
Matsushita helped ART win the teams’ championship in GP2 this year, claiming one race win and two further podium finishes in his debut season.
The Japanese racer is set to remain with ART in GP2 for 2016 thanks to its ties with McLaren, who Honda powers in Formula 1.
Across the three days of testing at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, Matsushita topped three of the four sessions he took part in, posting a fastest time of 1:48.313 on Friday.
Matsushita went four-tenths of a second quicker on Wednesday, but the fastest time of the three days of testing was set by Nicholas Latifi on Thursday afternoon for DAMS.
The test saw a number of drivers enjoy a taste of GP2 machinery ahead of a possible move up to the series in 2016, including DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein, F3 drivers Felix Rosenqvist and Antonio Giovinazzi, and GP3 drivers Jimmy Eriksson, Emil Bernstorff, Luca Ghiotto and Alex Fontana.
GP3 has also been testing at Yas Marina over the past three days, with FIA F3 graduate Charles Leclerc setting the pace for ART.
Leclerc, 18, is widely regarded as being one of motorsport’s future stars, and has been tipped to join Ferrari’s Driver Academy for 2016. A report from motorsport.com has also linked the Monegasque racer with a development role at Haas F1 Team for 2016.
Will Power led the only IndyCar Road America practice of the weekend Saturday, shooting to the top of the chart on his 22nd and final lap of the session at 1 minute, 46.0021 seconds in his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet.
Dixon knocked Jack Harvey’s No. 60 Dallara-Honda from the top spot (which would have marked the first time that a Meyer-Shank Racing car led practice).
Josef Newgarden, Power’s Team Penske teammate, was third, followed by Felix Rosenqvist and Ryan Hunter-Reay (who went off course late in the session but sustained no damage).
Alex Palou, Colton Herta, Graham Rahal, defending race winner Alexander Rossi and Pato O’Ward rounded out the top 10 in the practice that preceded a Saturday-Sunday race weekend doubleheader for IndyCar at Road America.
PRACTICE RESULTS: Click here to see who was fastest in the session
RACE INFORMATION: What you need to know for today’s REV Group Grand Prix
RATED ROOKIE: Rinus VeeKay rebounding well from a tough debut
IndyCar tested some new cooling devices with cars from Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske. Several drivers have said the cockpit heat caused by the new aeroscreen was stifling during last week’s GMR Grand Prix, and IndyCar repositioned drink bottles this weekend to keep liquids cool. The pieces tried by IndyCar during the Road America practice won’t be available during the races Saturday and Sunday at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, road course.
Scott Dixon, who is seeking to open the season with his third consecutive IndyCar victory, was 15th fastest in the 75-minute session. Other notables in Road America practice: Marco Andretti (12th), Simon Pagenaud (19th).
Power is aiming for his second consecutive pole position after qualifying first last week on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Qualifying for the REV Group Grand Prix Race #1 will take place at 2:15 p.m. ET (NBCSN, NBC Sports Gold).
The broadcast of the IndyCar race at Road America will begin at 5 p.m. on NBCSN.