Lyons chases Jordan drive

Northern Ireland's Richard Lyons is actively chasing a Jordan drive in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, autosport.com can exclusively reveal.

Lyons chases Jordan drive

Lyons, 24, led the Japanese Formula Nippon championship until hit by two recent non-finishes, but has been the most impressive driver in the series this year and has established a new record for successive pole positions. He always goes well at Suzuka and is keen on the idea of making his Grand Prix debut on the Japanese track, widely held to be one of the most challenging on the F1 calendar.

Lyons met with a number of F1 teams, including Jordan, on a visit to the Hungarian Grand Prix last month and it is believed that around £300,000 could secure him a Jordan seat at Suzuka. With Giorgio Pantano's contract with the team terminated after Monza and Timo Glock in the car at Shanghai this weekend, Eddie Jordan has confirmed that money is required to secure the second seat alongside Nick Heidfeld for the remaining two races.

Lyons, who looks and sounds not unlike compatriot Eddie Irvine, could therefore be mirroring Irvine's Suzuka F1 debut with Jordan some 11 years on.

"We'll just have to find someone for him to hit!" joked Lyons' advisor, the former F1 driver and now RTE TV expert, David Kennedy, in reference to Irvine's controversial debut Suzuka skirmish with the late Ayrton Senna.

Coming straight into F1 would be a tough ask for Lyons but both the driver and Kennedy are confident that he would be up to the task and his form in Japan for the DoCoMo Dandelion team appears to support the theory.

To make an impression, however, he would be up against Nick Heidfeld, who has been impressive all season and who outqualified previous team-mates Kimi Raikkonen and Heinz-Harald Frentzen at Suzuka. Heidfeld has also put the rated Pantano firmly into the shade all season at Jordan.

Kennedy is hopeful that a raft of Japanese backers who appreciate Lyons' 2004 Formula Nippon performances can be persuaded to support his F1 graduation.

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