WOOTTON EMBARKS ON 'OKAYAMA ODYSSEY' THIS WEEKEND OCTOBER 26, 2009: This weekend, Australian Formula BMW Junior, Chris Wootton heads to the penultimate event of 2009's Formula BMW Pacific at Okayama International Circuit in Japan (formerly known...
WOOTTON EMBARKS ON 'OKAYAMA ODYSSEY' THIS WEEKEND
OCTOBER 26, 2009: This weekend, Australian Formula BMW Junior, Chris Wootton heads to the penultimate event of 2009's Formula BMW Pacific at Okayama International Circuit in Japan (formerly known as Aida) after a solid effort to prepare himself for a physical weekend of competition.
Unusually, the 20-year-old has had the opportunity to drive a racecar between events, last week completing a Formula 3 Australia evaluation day at Winton Motor Raceway in Victoria.
Whilst experiencing limited track time at the F3 day, he has been able to get his eye in early and relished the opportunity to pilot something with more grip and power than his regular 140 hp Formula BMW FB02 rocketship.
It will be his first visit to the 3.703 kilometre circuit at the southern end of Japan's largest island, Honshu, however many hours studying YouTube vision, laps on the PlayStation and rigorous physical training (Chris is a personal trainer and has been rated the fittest FBMW driver in the world) have the young Australian ready for the weekend ahead.
From his research, Chris believes the circuit has limited passing opportunities, therefore qualifying well is going to be critical, particularly in the highly competitive Formula BMW Pacific ranks.
Chris aims to build on his efforts at Singapore -- where he was granted Series points equating to third in both races. He currently sits seventh in the Driver's Classification, with an eye to move into the top five by season's end.
Pleasingly, he says, there are two practice sessions which will allow him to become acquainted with the circuit and dial the appropriate settings into his car ahead of qualifying and the races.
The event will support the World Touring Car Championship event, where BMW retains a strong presence after winning three successive Championships in the mid-00s.
BEHIND THE HELMET: CHRIS WOOTTON
"Japan's a great country -- I just love the food and the people are fantastic -- best of all they are mad about motorsport!
"I am expecting outstanding results from Okayama. From the PlayStation laps I've cut, I do like it, however ensuring you get a good qualifying position is crucial for the races. The major passing opportunity seems to be the hairpin at the end of the straight, so I really want to be on Pole for this event.
"I've been training very hard to ensure I'm in peak physical shape, it should still be fairly warm in Japan at this time of year.
"We have two practice sessions before qualifying, which will definitely be really helpful.
"Doing the test day in a Formula 3 last week was a great help, it's the first time all year that between races I've been able to drive another racecar. It's sharpened me up and I'm raring to go, there is a good chance of rain and we haven't had a wet race all year, in pre season testing in the rain it was a lot of fun and I was very competitive.
"I'm looking forward to competing in support to the World Touring Car Championship. It's tough, close racing which is always exciting to watch.
"At some point through the weekend, I'll take a paddock tour and meet (BMW's triple WTCC Champion) Andy Priaulx and get to see how the WTCC cars tick, which is pretty cool."