Thompson prepares to make his GP3 debut in Britain
GARY Thompson looks set to make his GP3 debut at the British Grand Prix meeting on July 7 after an impressive test in Valencia last week.
Mr Thompson's sixth-fastest time of the day wowed the Jenzer Motorsport squad, who were anxious that the 20-year-old from Donabate, Dublin would race for the team at this weekend's third round of the series supporting the European Grand Prix.
However, that was looking increasingly unlikely yesterday and Mr Thompson is, instead, turning his attention to a debut in the important F1 feeder category at Silverstone in a fortnight.
"It would be a bit of rush to race this weekend in Valencia," he said.
Mr Thompson continued: "The test went really well and we're looking at the possibility of racing the car at one of the later rounds.
"At the moment, we're not looking at a long-term commitment to the series. It's all about Japan for me and that's my main focus.
"We are really trying hard to get into Formula Nippon next year after a very successful test last December.
"It would be nice to race on one of the European Formula 1 weekends, as I've not really raced in Europe since my karting days."
Mr Thompson is in his third season with the KCMG squad. He arrived in the series on the back of two strong seasons in the Asian Formula BMW series.
Three podium visits last season, including a maiden-class win, suggested he would be a contender for title honours in the Japanese F3 National Class this year.
However, ongoing development issues with his Dallara-Toyota run by the Chinese-owned KCMG squad have restricted him to a best result of fourth from the first four races at Suzuka and Motegi.
Nonetheless, Mr Thompson's driving and car set-up skills are being carefully honed in a fully professional race series.
"The Japanese F3 series is very competitive and there's a lot to learn in it about how to develop a car with a team, so I think the skills I've acquired in the last couple of years would serve me well in GP3," said Mr Thompson.
When he makes his first appearance, he will add to the considerable Irish interest in the series, which already numbers four drivers and one team.
William Buller, from Scarvagh, Co Down, is dovetailing commitments in the F3 Euroseries, where he scored a win in Austria last week, with a GP3 Series campaign as part of the Carlin Motorsport squad.
Conor Daly, the US native son of Dublin's former Grand Prix driver Derek, is already a race winner this year with the Lotus ART team.
Former Irish Formula Ford racer Robert Cregan has returned to single seaters in GP3 this year with Ocean Racing Technology.
Alice Powell is an English-born racer with strong links to Limerick through her grandfather Jim Fraser. The 19-year-old races with the Irish registered Status GP team.