Firman Returns to Japan

Former Formula One driver Ralph Firman has confirmed that he will make a full-time return to racing this season, after being announced as the lead driver for the Team Honda Racing outfit in the Japanese GT Super Championship

Firman Returns to Japan

The Briton, who has been out of full-time action since losing his drive at Jordan at the end of the 2003 season, is hoping to use his return to Japan as the springboard to relaunching his single-seater career - possibly in the new A1 Grand Prix series.

"From a career point of view I am extremely happy to have secured a works drive with a major manufacturer team this year," said Firman. "After driving for Jordan in 2003, I was hopeful of securing a race or test role in Formula One last season, but ultimately I was let down and missed any opportunity to race regularly in 2004.

"That was immensely disappointing, but I enjoyed racing at Le Mans and testing the exciting new A1 Grand Prix car in recent months."

Firman is highly rated in Japan, having won the Formula Nippon championship in 2002 and finishing runner-up in that year's GT series. He will line-up alongside Japanese driver Daisuke Ito, with the first round of the series taking place at the Oakayama International Circuit on March 27.

Although Firman sat out from any major racing activity last year, after an aborted attempt at the World Series by Nissan category, he kept himself in the sporting limelight by competing in the London Triathlon and taking part in the BBC Superstars programme.

"I want to re-establish my career in single seaters for later this year and into 2006," added Firman about his aims for the year ahead. "That includes testing or racing in Formula 1 and A1 Grand Prix."

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Author Jonathan Noble
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