Thompson to make Formula Nippon test debut

Gary Thompson will continue his rise through the motor racing ranks next week when he tests a Formula Nippon car for the first time at Fuji International Speedway.The 19-year-old Dubliner, who has spent the past two seasons contesting the competitive Japanese Formula 3 Championship, will sample his first taste of the powerful single-seater next Monday and Tuesday (November 28/29) at the series' end of season group test. Gary will again represent the SGC by KCMG team, for whom he took his maiden F3 victory and five additional podiums this season, including a pair of rostrum finishes at the Fuji circuit.  Acknowledged as Asia's premier racing series, Formula Nippon has seen star names such as Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine pass through its ranks on their way to the peak of grand prix racing and continues to act as a key proving ground for Formula One. The current field is as formidable as ever with a host of world class competitors, including former F1 racers and Le Mans 24 Hours winners, amongst them.The category's Swift FN09 chassis is powered by a 3.4-litre Toyota V8 powerplant and is comparable in performance with modern day Formula One equipment, capable of lapping Japanese Grand Prix venue Suzuka at similar pace.Gary already has experience of powerful racing machinery having performed several runs in a Formula One two-seater. Most recently the Irishman shook down the Yas F1x2 in Abu Dhabi before handing over the controls to grand prix stars Felipe Massa, Karun Chandhok and Martin Brundle.Gary Thompson: “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."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."Testing the top-end Nippon car will represent another significant progression in Thompson’s climb towards motorsport’s higher echelons. Having taken his breakthrough Japanese F3 win in 2011 the test reaffirms his status as Ireland’s most promising international racing talent.