New Zealand A1GP World Cup of Motorsport driver Jonny Reid is upbeat about this weekend's final All-Japan Formula 3 Championship round at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit after his fantastic pole-winning performance at the second round of the A1GP series in the Czech Republic a fortnight ago.
Reid, 23, was fastest in all four qualifying sessions to earn A1Team New Zealand's first A1GP series pole position and the young Aucklander says that he will take the same 'can-do' mindset into this weekend's All-Japan F3 Series final.
"I'll be putting my heart and soul into this weekend, that's for sure," Reid said this morning from the Twin Ring Motegi track.
Technical issues have blighted Reid's All-Japan F3 Championship campaign this year but his performances in the A1GP car both at the pre-season test at Silverstone, and at the second round of the 2006/07 series at Brno in the Czech Republic, prove that given the right equipment he can run with the world's - and certainly the All-Japan F3 Championship's - best.
At the pre-season test at Silverstone Reid set the third fastest time, and at the second round at Brno he was quickest in each qualifying session and started the first race from pole position,
This year's All-Japan F3 Championship campaign started well, with second place finishes at the first round at Fuji and the fifth round at Motegi but since then the former New Zealand kart and single-seater racing champion has struggled with a recalcitrant car.
Getting a working balance between front and rear end grip has been at the heart of the problem, one which no matter how hard Reid has tried, his team's engineer has not been able to resolve.
Reid admits it has at times been a very frustrating year and he says that, particularly after the penultimate round at Sugo where he had to sit out qualifying while the car was being repaired after an off in the warm up, the lack of progress was starting to get him down.
"You do start to doubt yourself when you are having a bad year. I'm only human afterall. So yes the A1GP success has been a huge relief because it has proved that it is not me!"
Ever the optimist, Reid also says there are positives to take out of his Japanese experience this year.
"As far as my driving is concerned it has certainly kept me sharp, in fact in trying to get more out of a car than it really wanted to give it's been extremely valuable. I've also learnt a lot from a technical point of view because we've spent so much time working on the car."
Despite starting both races at Sugo from the rear of the grid Reid worked his way up to ninth in the first and 12th in the second and heads into the final two races this weekend in eighth place in the overall series points standings.
Because he has already scored a podium at the Motegi circuit, at the beginning of the season the plan this weekend, says Reid is to go all out to win at least one of the races.
"I certainly can't win the series but yes I'd like to walk away with something for my troubles," he said.
Jonny Reid is proud to be one of New Zealand motor racing's Black Bullets. To find out more about our Black Bullets go to www.blackbullets.com
2006 All-Japan Formula 3 Championship
Points after Rnd 16 of 18
1. Adrian Sutil 218
2. Kazuya Oshima 185
3. Roberto Streit 168
4. Fabio Carbone 159
5. Kodai Tsukakoshi 139
6. Takuya Izawa 138
7. Marko Asmer 109
8. Jonny Reid 78
9. Hiroaki Ishiura 42
10. Daisuke Ikeda 41
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