McLaren Racing has just made a significant addition to its lineup by signing the Le Mans champion, Ryo Hirakawa, as their Formula 1 reserve driver. This move comes as part of McLaren’s driver development program, aiming to bolster their talent pool and enhance their racing capabilities.
Hirakawa, at 29 years old, brings a wealth of experience to McLaren. In addition to his new role with the team, he will continue to drive for Toyota, where he is currently leading the Hypercar class in the World Endurance Championship. To top it off, Hirakawa and his teammates, Sebastien Buemi and Brendon Hartley, are the reigning champions, having clinched both the overall title and the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours in 2022.
Speaking about his new role, Hirakawa expressed his enthusiasm, saying, “I’m happy to have joined the McLaren F1 team as a reserve driver. It’s an exciting prospect to work with such a respected team, and I’m grateful to Zak [Brown] and Andrea [Stella] for the opportunity.” He also mentioned that he had the chance to familiarize himself with McLaren’s simulator at MTC, setting him up for a promising start in his new role.
Andrea Stella, McLaren’s Team Principal, shared his thoughts on the addition of Hirakawa, stating, “I’m pleased to welcome Ryo to McLaren Racing as a Formula 1 reserve driver to further strengthen our growing support driver pool. We are thankful to Toyota Gazoo Racing for their collaboration by allowing Ryo to take on the new role alongside his driving duties.”
What makes this appointment intriguing is that Hirakawa is not just a Le Mans winner; he also boasts single-seater experience in Japan’s Super Formula championship, where he finished as the runner-up in 2020. Additionally, he has previously excelled in the SUPER GT series, claiming victory for luxury brand Lexus in 2017 and securing a championship title in Japan’s F3 championship. His diverse experience will undoubtedly bring a fresh perspective to the McLaren team.
This announcement comes on the heels of McLaren’s recent agreements to share reserve drivers with other teams, such as Stoffel Vandoorne and Felipe Drugovich from Aston Martin and having Mercedes’ Mick Schumacher in their reserve pool. They are also in the process of potentially adding Pato O’Ward, their current IndyCar star, to their F1 reserve pool for 2024, pending superlicence acquisition.
In a sport where every fraction of a second counts, having a talented and versatile reserve driver like Ryo Hirakawa could prove to be a strategic advantage for McLaren Racing. As the Formula 1 season unfolds, fans and pundits alike will be watching to see if Hirakawa’s addition to the team will lead to exciting developments on the track.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Fokus keyword: McLaren F1 Reserve Driver Hirakawa
Who is Ryo Hirakawa, and what is his role with McLaren Racing?
Ryo Hirakawa is a highly accomplished racing driver who has joined McLaren Racing as a Formula 1 reserve driver. In this role, he will support McLaren’s driver development program, work with the team’s simulator, and participate in testing with McLaren’s 2021 MCL35M car.
What other racing achievements does Ryo Hirakawa have?
Apart from his new role with McLaren, Ryo Hirakawa is a Le Mans winner and currently leads the Hypercar class in the World Endurance Championship. He and his teammates, Sebastien Buemi and Brendon Hartley, are reigning champions, having won both the overall title and the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours in 2022.
What makes Ryo Hirakawa a unique addition to McLaren Racing?
Ryo Hirakawa’s versatility as a driver sets him apart. Not only is he a Le Mans champion, but he also has experience in single-seater racing, including competing in Japan’s Super Formula championship and winning the SUPER GT series for Lexus in 2017. Additionally, he is a former champion of Japan’s F3 championship, showcasing his diverse skill set.
How does McLaren Racing plan to utilize Ryo Hirakawa in their team?
McLaren Racing aims to leverage Ryo Hirakawa’s experience and expertise to strengthen their support driver pool. He will not only assist in the simulator and testing but also provide valuable insights and skills that can benefit the team in various areas of Formula 1 racing.
Are there other reserve drivers associated with McLaren Racing?
Yes, McLaren Racing has agreements with other teams for reserve drivers. They had arrangements with Stoffel Vandoorne and Felipe Drugovich from Aston Martin for the first 15 rounds of 2023. Additionally, they have Mercedes’ Mick Schumacher in their reserve pool and are working on potentially adding their current IndyCar star, Pato O’Ward, to their F1 reserve pool for 2024, pending superlicence acquisition.
More about Fokus keyword: McLaren F1 Reserve Driver Hirakawa
- McLaren Racing Official Website
- Ryo Hirakawa’s Profile
- World Endurance Championship (WEC) Official Website
- Le Mans 24 Hours Official Website
- Super Formula Official Website
- SUPER GT Official Website
- Formula 1 Official Website
- Aston Martin Formula 1 Team
- Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team
- IndyCar Official Website