Irishman Gary Thompson is hoping to justify his re-signing by the KCMG Japanese Formula 3 team by setting his sights on becoming the 2011 Japanese Formula 3 National Class champion.

The 18-year old from Dublin is scheduled to enter his second year in the competitive series after a promising debut season saw him finish 5th in the National Class. His main backing sponsors, Aviation Display, Cebu Pacific and recently-added BAM Motorsport will continue to support Thompson in the new season which is set to start on 14-15 May at the famous Suzuka Circuit. The season was scheduled to start in April, but the devastating tsunami and earthquake that pounded the island saw the season’s start delayed.

Whilst the Japanese Formula 3 series may not get as much attention overseas as its European cousins, it has still heralded Formula 1 stars such as Pedro de la Rosa and Force India’s Adrian Sutil. Thompson aims to follow in their footsteps, and appears to be finely poised to challenge for the title after scoring 2 podiums in his rookie season.

After an uncertain few months in the wake of the natural disaster(s), Thompson was delighted the get his 2011 season in motion: : “I'm very happy to have re-signed with KCMG for my return to the Japanese F3 Championship in 2011. The team and I worked well together in my rookie season last year and I think we've made some real progress since then. Since the terrible earthquake and tsunami our plans have been a little bit up in the air and my thoughts and best wishes have been with all those people affected by the disaster as they look to rebuild and recover.”

“However, now my programme is confirmed, I'm really looking forward to racing in Japan again. I thoroughly enjoyed it last year and loved spending time in the country. The National Class is very competitive again, in fact it looks like being the most hotly-contested category this year, but we've been quick in testing so far and we think we've got a good base set-up on the car. My aim is to be challenging for wins right from the first race and then to maintain a title push throughout the year.”

2011 Japanese F3 Championship calendar

14-15 May – Suzuka Circuit
16-17 July – Fuji International Speedway
11-12 June – Fuji International Speedway
6-7 August – Twinring Motegi
27-28 August – Okayama International Circuit
24-25 September – Sports Land Sugo