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Matsushita secures McLaren F1 test and development role

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Honda youngster Nobuharu Matsushita has been named as McLaren’s test and development driver for the 2016 Formula 1 season.

Matsushita moved into GP2 last year after winning the Japanese F3 title in 2014, and claimed one race win with ART Grand Prix alongside McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne.

With Vandoorne moving into Super Formula after his championship success in 2015, Matsushita is expected to lead ART’s charge this year in GP2.

However, the 22-year-old will have to balance his on-track commitments with an increased role at McLaren that will see him offer support to race drivers Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.

“This season I am ecstatic to be joining the McLaren-Honda F1 team as a test and development driver,” Matsushita said. “To step into the world of Formula 1 fulfils a boyhood dream, and is a huge step forward in my career.

“I will do the utmost to help the race team on the track, by gathering data to feed back into the development and set-up of the car through simulator work.

“Last year’s GP2 Series season was a steep learning curve for me. It was my first year racing in Europe, but, thankfully, my experiences with Honda’s young driver programme meant I was well prepared for the task ahead.

“As a GP2 Series driver, my sole focus for 2016 is to win the championship. I believe that I have the best package around me to succeed and reach my ultimate goal of becoming a Formula 1 driver.”

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier was pleased to welcome Matsushita on board, believing that he has plenty to offer the British team throughout 2016.

“Nobu’s first season racing in Europe showed great promise – he produced some extremely impressive performances, and with experience and consistency, will surely build on that potential in 2016,” Boullier said.

“His position as a McLaren-Honda test and development driver will be extremely important – he’ll underline and corroborate the learning we acquire at the track, and will play a key role in improving our performance throughout 2016.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.