Japanese star Tsugio Matsuda gets LMP1 WEC chance with KCMG
|By Gary Watkins||Thursday, September 26th 2013, 09:27 GMT|
Two-time Formula Nippon champion Tsugio Matsuda will race a prototype for the first time in the Fuji World Endurance Championship round, ahead of a possible Le Mans 24 Hours debut next year.
Matsuda, 34, has been given a prototype chance by the KCMG squad, which in June became the first Chinese team to contest the Le Mans 24 Hours. He will race its Morgan-Nissan LMP2 at Fuji on October 20.
The drive could lead to an opening for Le Mans, according to KCMG boss Paul Ip.
"We want to see how it goes at Fuji, but we are already working towards next year and Le Mans," Ip said.
"He obviously has the credentials as a two-time Formula Nippon champion and we know him well because he has raced for us in the past."
Matsuda contested the end-of-season, non-championship Formula Nippon event at Fuji with the team in 2011.
"It is an honor to represent a great team who recently made a mark in motorsport history," he said.
"This year has been a successful one for KCMG and I'm happy that Iíve been given a chance to be able to contribute more to that success."
The Nissan Super GT driver will be joined at Fuji by Richard Bradley and Kazuhiro Koizumi, who were part of KCMG's winning line-up in the second round of the Asian Le Mans Series, also at Fuji.
KCMG is making its third appearance in the WEC after the Silverstone opener and Le Mans. It intends to complete the full season in 2014 with at least one car.
"We have one car confirmed and we are working on a second car for the complete season," explained Ip. "It's not looking too good at the moment, so we might end up doing selected races with that car like this year."
Ip said that KCMG was looking to remain in the Asian LMS, of which it has won the first two rounds this year, depending on the calendar.