Former Formula 1 racer Ukyo Katayama has become the latest driver to pledge his commitment to the fledgling Speedcar Series, joining the likes of Jean Alesi on the entry list.

Signalling a return for the Japanese driver who raced for Larousse, Footwork, Tyrrell and Minardi from the start of the 1990s, Katayama has not raced full-time since 1997 when he gave up motor racing to pursue his love of mountain climbing.

Having conquered Mount Everest, Katayama has dabbled in sportscar racing, including Toyota and Nissan's Le Mans efforts, but is now seeking a new challenge to entice him.

"I am delighted to be confirmed as the first driver from the Far East to be taking part in the Speedcar Series. It is especially nice for me, as I am confident the series will visit Japan at some stage during the championship! This will be another great challenge for me, after taking part in Formula One, the Le Mans 24 Hours, and by climbing some of the world's toughest mountains."

"My initial impressions of the car are very good, the engine is very powerful and makes a great sound. They will provide a very different kind of competition for myself and all the other drivers, we will all be coming from quite a level playing field in terms of experience, and that will make things very exciting for the fans, whom I am sure will love the exciting racing."

Intended to break the Middle East and Asian market, the Speedcar Series was announced earlier this year with a view to kicking off over the winter period taking high-powered stock cars across the continent.

So far Alesi has confirmed his participation in the series, while the likes of Johnny Herbert, Stefan Johansson and Gianni Morbidelli have also hinted that they may enter too, much to the delight of the series' general manager Benoit Lamonerie.

"With an increasing interest from high profiled drivers, I am confident of a good racing season to commence in November."



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