Nobuharu Matsushita will contest a third season of the GP2 Series after being retained by the ART squad.

Matsushita made his GP2 debut in 2015, starting on the front row on his debut before taking his first victory later in the season in the Hungarian sprint race.

The Japanese driver took his second series win at Monaco in 2016, before being handed an event ban for Spielberg following dangerous driving at Azerbaijan, where erratic driving behind the safety car caused other drivers to crash out.

ART kept faith in Matsushita, however, who took a double points finish on his return at Silverstone and collected his fourth GP2 podium at the final round in Abu Dhabi.

“I am happy to be able to race in GP2 Series again, and very honoured to work with ART Grand Prix for a third consecutive season,” said Matsushita.

“It is a fantastic team that helped me to settle in a brand new environment back in 2015 but also allowed me to grow as a driver and to secure a win and several podiums during my first year in the series.

“I hope I will be able to bring them more wins this season and to help them to fight for the championship. I would like to thank Honda for continuously giving me this great opportunity. I am ready to make this season a great one. I cannot wait for the season to start.”

ART Team Manager Sebastien Philippe expressed his delight in retaining Matsushita, citing his championship potential as a factor in keeping him for a third season.

“ART Grand Prix is delighted to extend its partnership with Nobuharu. Since his first steps in GP2 in Europe, he showed how dedicated and motivated he is and that he can adapt very quickly to a new culture and working environment.

“Our collaboration has been very fruitful ever since his first year in the team with Nobu securing two wins, one being a prestigious victory in Monaco, as well as numerous podiums over last two years.

“He ended last year on a high with a podium in Yas Marina and I’m sure he will take it from there to start this season with the same momentum and to be a regular front runner and championship contender.”

Matsushita’s team-mate is yet to be announced, although it is expected that GP3 vice-champion Alexander Albon will be promoted.

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