FNIPPON: Alex Yoong to Test with Top Team

ALEX YOONG TO TEST WITH FORMULA NIPPON TOP TEAM AFTER MACAU AND KOREA GPs Malaysia's Formula One hopeful, Alex Yoong, aged 23, had secured a test with Formula Nippon's top team to be scheduled on December the 8th and 9th after the Macau and...

ALEX YOONG TO TEST WITH FORMULA NIPPON TOP TEAM AFTER MACAU AND KOREA GPs

Malaysia's Formula One hopeful, Alex Yoong, aged 23, had secured a test with Formula Nippon's top team to be scheduled on December the 8th and 9th after the Macau and Korea F3 Grand Prix following a successful visit to Suzuka's final Formula Nippon (Japanese F3000 series) round last weekend

The most probable team is the Team Le Mans, which successfully ran Ralf Schumacher to win the championship in 1996 and was also the 1998 champion with Japan's Satoshi Motoyama.

Other notable Formula One drivers who graduated to F1 from Team Le Mans are Michael Schumacher, Johnny Herbert, Noberto Fontana, Christian Danner, Johnny Cecotto and Thiery Boutsen

"Before the visit to Japan last weekend, I was planning to do the International Formula 3000 in Europe, but it seems there is a lot of interest in me from Japanese sponsors and teams. It will also make a lot of sense for me to do a campaign in Formula Nippon considering that the cars in Formula Nippon are more technical and faster than the European F3000 cars and therefore closer to present day Formula 1 cars." said Alex.

Alex is currently only one of 3 drivers from Asia outside Japan who are seeking a Formula 1 career. The others are Indonesia's Ananda Mikola and India's Narain Karthikeyan.

The visit to Suzuka was on an invitation of Japan Race Promotions (JRP) who are the Promoters of Japan's Formula Nippon. Other recent graduates of Japanese F3000 to Formula 1 are Eddie Irvine, Heinz Herald Frentsen, Pedro De La Rosa, and Tora Takagi.

"If I do well in the December test, it would be great for me as it will not only be with a top team but it will be a package which will involve a fair bit of sponsorship and TV programs produced by Fuji TV to be distributed to Asian broadcasters, which will promote me to a new level of exposure." added Alex.

Alex is presently supported by Malaysia's Ministry of Youth and Sports, and Pan Global Insurance for the Macau and Korea F3 Grand Prix. There is a move by Formula Nippon's promoters JRP to work closely with the Malaysian motorsports to not only help Alex into Formula 1 but to also commit a program of technological transfer to train future racers, mechanics, engineers and team and design expertise in the motorsports industry.

Alex started racing in 1991 when he was 15 and had been racing full time in Europe in the last four years after winning the Malaysian Formula Asia Championship and taking the runner up position in the International Formula Asia Championship in 1995 when he won 8 races in 14 starts that year.

Alex was also the first ever winner of the first ever single seater race in China in 1994, when he won the Formula Asia international race in Zhuhai's street circuit in China when he was only 18.

This year's achievements include a fifth in his first F3000 race in Pergusa, Scily, a podium second in F3000 in Donnington, UK in a rain soaked track as well as a second and fifth in the British F3 Championship.

Alex finished a superb ninth in his first F3 visit to Macau with the Alan Docking Racing Team last year which also happened to be the highest finish for a non Japanese Asian for 15 years.

He is again with the same team for the Macau GP this year and is quietly confident of a top 5 finish in the coming weekend of 21st November 1999.

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