Ryo Hirakawa closes in on Coyne IndyCar drive

Dale Coyne has left the door open to a possible IndyCar race appearance by last year's Japanese Formula 3 champion Ryo Hirakawa following the teenager's debut test at Sonoma on Tuesday

Ryo Hirakawa closes in on Coyne IndyCar drive

Hirakawa, who was first linked to the team by AUTOSPORT last week, spent the day running in the Dale Coyne Racing #18 car alongside the team's regular driver Justin Wilson, lapping within 0.7 seconds of the fastest time set by team-mate Justin Wilson.

Coyne told AUTOSPORT that plans for the driver of the team's second car at Sonoma are still being finalised, but that he was impressed by Hirakawa's performance.

"He didn't look out of his depth," Coyne said. "For a 19-year-old kid, running around with these [more experienced] guys, he did a really good job."

According to Coyne, the likelihood of Hirakawa appearing in the car for next weekend's race depend in part upon funding, and in part upon his performance in testing.

"It's a bit of both," he said. "He's done a good job, but we'll kind of wait and see. He has other plans in Japan, so we'll see how that might interface with what he wants to do here."

Hirakawa is currently competing in the Super Formula (formerly Formula Nippon) series.

Sonoma would be his only opportunity to race the second Coyne car this year, with Stefan Wilson, Mike Conway and Pippa Mann already confirmed to take the wheel for Baltimore, Houston and Fontana respectively.

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