Matsushita joins McLaren as Development Driver

McLaren-Honda has announced that ART Grand Prix GP2 Series racer Nobuharu Matsushita has joined the team as a test and development driver for 2016.

Matsushita partnered current McLaren reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne in the ART team in 2015, and secured his first race victory in Hungary, and remains at the French outfit for a title tilt in 2016.

The Japanese Honda-protégé will be primarily using the Woking team’s simulator to help race drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button with support and engineering work.

“To step into the world of Formula 1 fulfils a boyhood dream, and is a huge step forward in my career,” said Matsushita. “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.”