GP2 Champion and McLaren reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne flew from a successful weekend in Bahrain (where he won his sixth victory of the year) to Japan to test a Super Formula car at Suzuka. The Belgian rising star is expected to race in Japan next year, while also attending all the Grands Prix and doing simulator work. The aim is to keep him race sharp for 2017. Vandoorne tested for the leading Honda team: Docomo Dandelion Racing, which ran Tomoki Nojiri (26), who finished seventh in the championship and 38-year-old Indian former F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan, who was 11th. Vandoorne has since returned to AbuDhabi, where he will race in the championship finale this weekend. If he wins again he will become the man with the highest number of wins in GP2 history, overtaking Pastor Maldonado. It should be added that Vandoorne has achieved this in two seasons, while it took Maldonado four. Nine of Vandoorne’s 10 wins have been in feature races, an unrivalled feat.
The Super Formula has the fastest racing cars outside F1, with lap times at Suzuka that would qualify for the GP. The cars are powered by 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines from Honda and Toyota, which produced around 550 hp. The cars are lighter than GP2s and feature DRS.