New Zealand driver Jonny Reid goes back into battle for 2006 All-Japan Formula 3 Series honours this weekend at Autopolis.
Autopolis is the famed, now Kawasaki-owned circuit, built in a mountainous region of central Japan by a consortium with an eye on hosting a Formula 1 Grand Prix.
That dream foundered soon after the complex was completed and the circuit has remained a 4.6 km enigma, highly regarded by drivers like Reid who compete in domestic motor racing series in Japan, and held in awe by drivers from the rest of the world who know it only by its fabulous 'no-expense-spared-in-the-design-and-build' reputation.
New Zealand A1GP team member Reid, a multi-time New Zealand Kart champion before making a successful transition to single-seater racing cars, has so far had what can only be described as a character-building season in his second year competing in the All-Japan Formula 3 series, and is looking for a breakthrough performance at Autopolis this weekend.
At the most recent round of the All-Japan series, regarded as the most competitive outside Europe and thus home for a number of world-ranked drivers like Reid, the 23-year-old qualified and finished seventh in the first race but was an early dnf (did not finish) in the second.
That has left him eighth in the overall driver points standings.
This year's series is being led by German driver Adrian Sutil from Japanese duo Kodai Tsukakoshi and Takuya Izawa with Brazilians Fabio Carbone and Roberto Streit fourth and fifth respectively.
2006 All-Japan Formula 3 Championship 2006 All-Japan Formula 3 Championship Rnds 9 & 10 Suzuka International Circuit July 8 & 9 2006
Driver points after Rnd 6 of 9
1. Adrian Sutil 151
2. Kodai Tsukakoshi 108
3. Takuya Izawa 96
4. Fabio Carbone 89
5. Roberto Streit 88
6. Kazuya Oshima 84
7. Marko Asmer 68
8. Jonny Reid 48
9. Hiroaki Ishiura 31
10. Daisuke Ikeda 28
1. TOM's 163
2. ThreeBond Racing 111
3. INGING Motorsport 101
4. Honda Team Mugen 101
5. Honda Toda Racing 96
6. Now Motorsports 31
2006 All-Japan Formula 3 Championship
Rnds 1 & 2: April 1 & 2 Fuji Speedway
Rnds 3 & 4: April 15/16 Suzuka Circuit
Rnds 5 & 6: May 27/28 Twin Ring Motegi
Rnds 7 & 8: June 17/18 Okayama International Circuit
Rnds 9 & 10: July 08/09 Suzuka Circuit
Rnds 11 & 12: August 05/06 Autopolis
Rnds 13 & 14: August 26/27 Sports Land Sugo
Rnds 15 & 16: September 16/17 Fuji Speedway
Rnds 17 & 18: October 17/18 Twin Ring Motegi