Carlo van Dam gets ready for the F3 season


Dutch racing driver Carlo van Dam is getting ready for the start of the Japanese Formula 3 season, in which he will compete for reigning champions Toyota Team TOM’s. He tested his Dallara-Toyota at Fuji and Motegi recently and will run at Suzuka on March 18 and 19. The Japanse Formula 3 championship starts on April 4 and 5 at Fuji near Gotemba, where Carlo and his team are based.

The most recent test at Fuji - where all Japanese F3 teams were present - was again hit by snow, but Carlo still managed to complete over 150 laps in two days. “We have learned a lot, which is quite necessary, for although our team claimed the first three positions, there are still some things we can improve”, says Carlo, who enjoys living and racing in Japan. “I can focus entirely on racing and physical training here. And I love Japanese food, so I am having a good time. The people are all very friendly and helpful and I have already met a lot of nice people.”

Carlo knows he will be racing in a fiercely contested championship this year: “It’s quite competitive, but I knew that already. Just look at the drivers who raced here before. This season we are up against some very quick Japanese drivers and I think it will basically be between our team and the Honda works team. At Fuji we were significantly quicker, but the last test is staged at Suzuka, Honda’s home track. Then we will see where we stand.”

His team is more than ready, reckons Carlo: “Their motivation and discipline are impressive. Everybody is working very hard and there is no such thing as regular working hours. Both my engineer and my mechanic have been working for TOM’s for many years already and they are highly experienced. Motor racing is like a national sport in Japan and very popular. All the car manufacturers here invest heavily in racing and that creates a lot of opportunities for teams and drivers. Drivers are selected here for their talent and skills rather than the money they can bring, and that is of course a big difference with how things work in Europe.”

After the test at Suzuka, Carlo will spent some days in Europe, before flying back to Japan for 2008 season opener at Fuji.

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