Makino gets fourth Hitech seat for European F3 move

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Honda protege Tadasuke Makino will drive an additional fourth Hitech entry as he moves to European Formula 3 this year.

The 19-year-old fought for the title in the inaugural Japanese FIA Formula 4 season in 2015, then finished fifth in Japanese F3 last year, also taking part in the Macau Grand Prix with his Toda Racing team.

Makino also shone in appearances in Super GT.

Hitech has expanded to four cars to sign Makino, who joins Jake Hughes, Ralf Aron and Nikita Mazepin in the team’s line-up.

Team boss Oliver Oakes explained he was pleased to sign Makino, who was also linked to Prema and Carlin.

“We are really excited Tadasuke has joined us,” Oakes said.

“He tested for a few F3 teams over the winter and caught our eye – especially considering it was his first time on the European scene.

“He has showed his talent jumping between F3 and Super GT in Japan, so we are thrilled he has decided to join us in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship.

“He is a quick learner and we’re expecting Tadasuke to raise a few eyebrows next season, from what we have seen so far.

“It’s fantastic to expand to four cars for our second year in FIA F3, we’re very pleased indeed with our driver line-up for 2017.”

Makino follows ART-contracted drivers Nobuharu Matsushita and Nirei Fukuzumi in moving to Europe with Honda backing.

The marque has revealed Sena Sekaguchi and Hiroki Ohtsu will represent it in Japanese F3 this year, while its supported drivers in the domestic F4 series will include Formula Renault race-winner Ukyo Sasahara, who earned his place through the Suzuka Racing School scholarship scheme.