Jüri Vips admitted that driving the Super Formula car during the recent two-day test at Fuji Speedway was tough on the body, but the young Estonian completed nearly two-hundred laps as he got some much needed track time ahead of the start of the season.
The Red Bull Junior Team driver, racing for Team Mugen full-time in 2020 after making his Super Formula debut in the season finale at the Suzuka International Racing Course at the end of 2019.
“It’s great to be back after such a long break,” said Vips. “I have no idea what the lap total is but my neck tells me it must have been 200 laps.
“It’s been pretty tough on the body all round. Of course I’ve been training hard but nothing is quite the same as time in the car. I am very happy with the way the test went. Not that the time sheets show everything I would like but there is a lot more potential there than just the times.”
Vips, who won three races on his way to fourth in the FIA Formula 3 championship last year, continued his learning about the Super Formula car and the tyres, and the nineteen-year-old felt it was a productive test all round.
“I struggled to get the tyre warming sorted out, so the lap time did not come at first,” said the Estonian. “But by session 4 I got on top of it quite well and we put on new tyres early.
“I then hit P1 and really had a good run. We then went for race distance while others put in new tyres later in the session when the track improved, and the cars went quicker in cooler air. We slipped off the top of the times, but we know we are in quite good shape.
“I am really enjoying the time here, the people are great. I have a new engineer, a Canadian and that is obviously helping with the communication plus I am getting used to the culture and the way things are done.”
With the coronavirus continuing to play havoc with race meetings across the globe, as well as travel, Vips feels he is likely to be forced to remain in Japan for the long haul rather than returning home.
“Just as well, I may be here for a while,” said Vips. “I would like to go home and visit my family of course but though I could get home I probably couldn’t get back with the way things are. I don’t want to miss a race.”