Ireland's most promising racing driver, Gary Thompson, is targeting the Japanese F3 National Class title after confirming his return to the series with the SGC by KCMG team for the 2011 season.
The 18-year-old Dubliner, who will continue to receive backing from Aviation Display and Cebu Pacific as well as support from Bam Motorsport and team sponsor SGC this season, finished fifth in his rookie year in 2010 having graduated to the prestigious single-seater series from Formula BMW Pacific, where he was runner-up in 2009.
After opting to stay with the Hong Kong-based KCMG squad for the new campaign, Thompson, who scored two podium finishes driving the team's Dallara-Toyota last season, is planning a title assault this year in the hotly-contested National Class.
The new Japanese F3 season was due to begin in April at Suzuka, but due to the massive earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan in March, the first round was postponed.
Thompson's 2011 campaign is now due to start at Suzuka on 14-15 May and the youngster, who ended last year ranked as Ireland's best driver on the Castrol Edge Rankings, is eager to get back to racing as he looks to follow in the footsteps of fellow Japanese F3 graduates Pedro de la Rosa and Adrian Sutil on the road to Formula One.
"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, said Gary Thompson.
"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," Thompson added.
As well as the opening round at Suzuka this month, the Japanese F3 Championship will visit Fuji, Motegi, Okayama and Sugo in 2011.