Karthikeyan will be driving for Team Impul Hoshino Racing, which finished third in the title standings last year and is led by Kazuyoshi Hoshino, the original fastest man in Japan. (Agencies)
The series comprising eight rounds, seven in Japan and one in South Korea, will begin on April 13 at Suzuka circuit and conclude at the same place on November 9.
The field includes 24 hour Le Mans winners and WEC World Champions, Andre Lotterer and Loic Duval, former F1 pilots, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Takuma Sato and Kazuki Nakajima, former Force India F1 test driver, James Rossiter, and, 2010 Super Formula Champion, João Paulo de Oliveira, who is also Karthikeyan’s teammate at Team Impul, among others.
Mukund Rajan, Member - Group Executive Council and Brand Custodian, Tata Sons, said, "The Tata group has, throughout its history, supported the cause of sports in India. Our association with Narain Karthikeyan and motor sports is an extension of this commitment. We are excited to sponsor his maiden participation in the 2014 Super Formula season. We wish him the very best, and are confident that he will continue to make India proud."
Speaking on the association and the upcoming season, Karthikeyan said, "It is an honour to be backed by the Tata group that has always been at the forefront of promoting Indian sporting talent, and has consciously strived to encourage sports in India and globally through multiple platforms, across multiple sports."
"The best part about this spec-series is the fact that everyone has the same equipment and the same opportunity to win – something which I relished in Auto GP last year. I hope to make the country proud," he said.
Super Formula, erstwhile known as Formula Nippon, has been running since 1973, with its driver roster including Michael Schumacher, Eddie Irvine, Pedro De La Rosa and Ralf Schumacher.
The series has switched to a new Dallara SF14 chassis this year. Also, similar to the 2014 F1 regulations, the erstwhile V8 engines will be replaced by two-litre, 550bhp turbocharged engines.
Going by the two official tests held thus far, the lap time of the new SF14 Super Formula cars is merely three seconds shy of previous generation F1 cars on the same circuits, and in the same territory as new turbocharged F1 cars.
Karthikeyan will be driving for Team Impul Hoshino Racing, which finished third in the title standings last year and is led by Kazuyoshi Hoshino, the original fastest man in Japan.