Kiwi driver Nick Cassidy has made a solid start to his maiden Japanese F3 year by finishing third fastest in the first official pre-season test at the Fuji Speedway.
A three times New Zealand Grand Prix winner and twice Toyota Racing Series champion, Cassidy posted a 1:34.506s best lap.
Cassidy has secured a season with the highly respected TOM’s Toyota outfit after intermittent runs in F3 cars in Europe last year.
He was responsible for a stirring drive to finish third in the time-honoured Macau Grand Prix last November with the T-Sport operation.
The session was topped by TOM’s team-mate Kenta Yamashita who cracked a 1:34.379s in the first half of his run with Tsubasa Takahashi second in 1:34.470.
Nissan’s poster boy Lucas Ordonez was sixth in 1.34.998 in his B-MAX NDDP machine.
The 20-year-old Cassidy has gained plenty of confidence from the run where he was closely matched to Yamashita, the runner-up in the championship last year.
“It was only a two-hour timed session, but over the two days we completed a lot of laps, I’m really happy to get through a big program with the TOM’S team,” Cassidy said.
“It’s only testing. We don’t know what the others are doing and there are many things that can change come the first round.
The Japanese F3 championship kicks off its 16-round scheduled at Suzuka on April 18.