After an impressive debut season in the Japanese Formula Three Championship Irishman Gary Thompson begins serious preparation for 2011 next week with a test session at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia.

The 18-year-old will link up with German team Performance Racing for the five day (December 13-17) session that will also see teams from British and Italian F3 series, as well as International F3 Open and Euroseries take to the track.

It will be the driver's second visit to the Spanish city's permanent racing venue, having tested with Performance Racing there last season as well. He returned to Europe in October to begin testing with the team once more, beginning at the Oschersleben track.

“We tested at Valencia last season so I know the track reasonably well and will hopefully build on that experience,” says Thompson. “Already knowing the team well from recently testing with them should also be a bonus, especially as the German championship uses similar spec cars, engines and tyres to what I've been racing in Japan all year,” he adds, going some way to explain the thinking behind the link-up

Despite the exposure his test appearance may give him in European circles Thompson remains committed to developing his career in the Japanese series.

“We're still talking to quite a few teams for 2011. Nothing's 100% confirmed but Japan is definitely where we will be racing. I'll be in the National Class where there's a lot more entries and it's more competitive because of all the manufacturer works drivers. It seems the best option. I'd definitely like to come back to Europe at some stage but when exactly we're not sure. We're testing because it gives us a head start over our rivals in Japan.”