Nissan protege Jann Mardenborough targets 2017 Super Formula seat

Japanese Formula 3 Championship runner-up Jann Mardenborough hopes to graduate to the country's top level Super Formula series in 2017

Nissan protege Jann Mardenborough targets 2017 Super Formula seat

The Nissan protege competed in F3 in 2016 with B-Max Racing Team, which usually runs Nissan-supported drivers in the category, and now the squad is stepping up to Super Formula for the first time.

Nissan does not supply a Super Formula engine, and B-Max looks set to use Honda power instead.

Mardenborough did not participate in Thursday's test at Suzuka, B-Max instead ran long-time Honda driver Takashi Kogure in the morning, and Nissan Super GT ace Daiki Sasaki in the afternoon.

Sasaki partnered Mardenborough in a part-time F3 programme this season.

"I want to do it, but NISMO [Nissan's motorsport division] have the final call," Mardenborough told Autosport.

"I drove a Super Formula car two years ago in the wet and I loved it - it's like a Formula V8 3.5 car on steroids!

"It's got more downforce, so much grip - it's such a cool car to drive.

"It's a proper championship, proper tyres, and proper drivers."

Mardenborough is also hoping to graduate to the top tier of Japan's Super GT Championship with Nissan.

The 25-year-old finished fourth in the GT300 class this season, sharing a GT3-spec GT-R with Kazuki Hoshino.

"I've just got to do what I can to move up," he added.

NOJIRI TOPS TEST

Dandelion Racing's Tomoki Nojiri - team-mate to McLaren Formula 1 recruit Stoffel Vandoorne in 2016 - topped the times on Thursday at Suzuka with a late effort.

Nojiri's Honda-powered car pipped the Toyota-motivated Inging Motorsport Dallara of 2015 champion Hiroaki Ishiura by 0.018 seconds, with Team Impul's Yuhi Sekiguchi third.

Nick Cassidy was the top rookie, taking 12th place with the Toyota-powered Kondo Racing after finishing as second fastest in the damp morning session.

Other newcomers included Toyota-backed Japanese F3 champion and Macau Grand Prix star Kenta Yamashita, who was 14th in the other Kondo car, and Honda-supported Tadasuke Makino, who was 17th in the Honda test machine.

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