Thompson eyeing big step forward at Okayama Irish racing driver Gary Thompson is hoping to make a 'big step forward' when the Japanese F3 Championship resumes at Okayama next weekend (4-5 September) following a four-week break. The 18-year-old...
Thompson eyeing big step forward at Okayama
Irish racing driver Gary Thompson is hoping to make a 'big step forward' when the Japanese F3 Championship resumes at Okayama next weekend (4-5 September) following a four-week break.
The 18-year-old scored the best result of his rookie season so far prior to the series' summer hiatus with a fine second place National Class finish in race 2 at Motegi, but he and his Achievement by KCMG Racing team have refused to rest on their laurels.
During the month of inactivity on-track, the Hong Kong-based squad has worked extensively on Thompson's Cebu Pacific Air-backed Dallara chassis in an attempt to find more speed and the Dubliner is hoping that the hard work pays off with a strong run in the final three race meetings of 2010.
"It's hard to make predictions because it's difficult to know exactly where we'll be in Okayama compared with everybody else, but certainly we're looking for a big step forward in terms of our overall pace," said Thompson.
"We've been a bit frustrated with our ultimate speed so far this season, even though our results have been quite good, but the team has worked really hard over the past few weeks and I'm aiming to reward them with a strong performance at the weekend."
Thompson, who is also supported by Aviation Display, heads to Okayama with the advantage of knowing the track having raced there in Formula BMW Pacific last season, something which hasn't been the case in the previous rounds this year.
"So far in 2010 I've had to learn each circuit in practice while a lot of the other drivers on the grid have had prior circuit knowledge," he explained. "However, I've been to Okayama before in Formula BMW, in fact I had a pretty strong weekend there last year which saw me finish on the podium. That definitely helps but we'll still have to work hard in the practice sessions on Friday to make sure we have the optimum set-up bearing in mind all the changes we've made."
The mountainous Okayama International Circuit, which twice held the Pacific Grand Prix - won on both occasions by Michael Schumacher, has a reputation as a tight and twisty track, particularly on its infield section, but Thompson is confident that its layout will still be conducive to exciting racing.
"I quite like it and the layout is good," he said. "There are places where you can overtake which should make it good for racing. The key thing for us is the weather. It hasn't been great for the last few days and I'm hoping it's dry in practice so we can get through our workload without any delays."