Reigning Japanese Formula 3 champion Ryo Hirakawa could make his IndyCar Series debut this year with Dale Coyne Racing, after the teenage driver’s impressive performance during a test session at Sonoma Raceway.
The up-and-coming racer – who dominated the 2013 Japanese Formula 3 season en route to winning the title – lapped within 0.7 seconds of series regular and potential teammate Justin Wilson.
“He didn’t look out of his depth,” team owner Dale Coyne said following his impressive performance.
“For a 19-year-old kid, running around with these [more experienced] guys, he did a really good job.”
In order to secure a drive in Coyne’s #18 cockpit – which has so far been driven by Ana Beatriz, Pippa Mann, Mike Conway and James Davison this year – Hirakawa will need to stump up the necessary funding, Coyne added.
“It’s a bit of both [funding and raw speed],” Coyne admitted.
“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.”
Next weekend’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma would represent Hirakawa’s only chance to drive for Dale Coyne Racing this year, with Stefan Wilson, Mike Conway and Pippa Mann already locked in to drive the #18 racer at the following rounds at Baltimore, Houston and Fontana Speedway.