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24 November 2011

Gary Thompson to make Formula Nippon test debut

After a successful outing in a two-seater Formula 1 car last October, Gary Thompson is stepping up the ranks when he tests for Formula Nippon at the Fuji International Speedway next week. Gary will be driving a category Swift FN09 chassis  powered by a 3.4-liter Toyota V8, which is faster than GP2, and only a shy slower than the modern day Formula 1 equipment. 
The 19-year-old Dubliner, who competed in the Japanese Formula 3 Championship for the past two seasons, will get behind the wheel of the powerful single-seater on November 28 and 29. Gary will once again be driving for SGC by KCMG, the same team whom he ran with for the 2010 and 2011 Formula 3 season.
Acknowledged as Asia's premier racing series, Formula Nippon is one of the stepping stones to Formula 1 and have seen names such as Eddie Irvine and Ralf Schumacher go through its ranks. The current field in Formula Nippon is as formidable as ever, with a host of world class drivers including ex-Formula 1 racers and Le Mans 24 Hour winners, amongst them. 
Gary has had his share of experience driving powerful racing machinery. Just two weeks ago, he drove the Yas two-seater Formula 1 car in Abu Dhabi before handing over the controls to Formula 1 stars Felipe Massa, Karun Chandhok and Martin Brundle.
“I'm delighted to be getting my first run in a Formula Nippon car. It's the pinnacle of Japanese motorsport and certainly where I see myself racing in the next few years. I'd particularly like to thank Toyota, KCMG and SG Changi for giving me the opportunity to test at Fuji. Their continuing support has been invaluable and I hope to repay them by doing a solid, professional job,” said Thompson. 
"Whilst we're not looking to move up to Nippon as early as next year this will nevertheless be a fantastic learning experience and an important step in my development. The aim is to race in the series in 2013 and to make that transition as seamless as possible we’ll need to get the maximum mileage in the car that we can. I’m sure beginning that preparation now will pay dividends in the long run," he added. 
Testing in Formula Nippon will represent another significant step in Thompson’s climb towards Formula 1. Having taken his breakthrough Japanese F3 win in 2011, the test reaffirms his status as Ireland’s most promising international racing talent.
Follow Gary Thompson on, through the official Gary Thompson Racing Facebook page, or Twitter @GthompsonRacing.