2012 Japan F3 champion Ryo Hirakawa in frame for Sonoma IndyCar debut

2012 Japanese Formula 3 champion Ryo Hirakawa is in the frame to make his IndyCar debut with Dale Coyne Racing at Sonoma in two weeks

2012 Japan F3 champion Ryo Hirakawa in frame for Sonoma IndyCar debut

The 19-year-old, who is currently 11th in the Super Formula (formerly Formula Nippon) standings, is expected to test with the team before the end of the year and could sample its second car as soon as the open test on August 21 at Sonoma.

Team owner Dale Coyne confirmed that there are plans to test the Japanese driver but said that putting him into the race at Sonoma was unlikely due to a date clash.

However Super Formula does not have a race scheduled on the Sonoma weekend, suggesting that any clash would be with a cameo appearance in another category.

Japan's other major series, Super GT, is also clear on Sonoma's IndyCar dates of August 24-25, as is Japanese Formula 3. Multiple paddock sources at Mid-Ohio last weekend connected the teenager to the Sonoma seat.

"He'll be testing, yes, but I'm not sure about racing because he has a date conflict," Coyne said.

"He's been making quick progress coming up in Japan and has had quite a bit of success so far."

Sonoma is the only race where Coyne's plans for his second car are still to be announced.

It has already been confirmed that Stefan Wilson will make his debut in the car at Baltimore, with Mike Conway returning for the Houston double-header and Pippa Mann completing the line-up at Fontana.

Hirakawa dominated last year's Japanese F3 championship, claiming seven wins and six podiums on his way to the title.

He currently has affiliations with Toyota, and any IndyCar deal would be arranged independently of Coyne's engine supplier Honda.

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