As SuperGT heads into its closing stages, Australian driver Jake Parsons is keen to finish his rookie season with Team Taisan SARD on a high. The ultra-competitive Japanese series heads to Chang International Circuit, in Buriram, Thailand this weekend for round seven.
The 12-turn, 4.554 km (2.830 mi) track is new to the 22-year-old racer, but he’s eager to experience the unique challenges it holds. “This is the last major Asian circuit that I haven’t been to yet, so I’m really looking forward to it. From what I’ve seen, it’s similar to Sepang in style. The surface looks very smooth, with great run-off areas too, so it will be a very different set of challenges compared to some of the bumpier tracks we’ve driven.”
Although the 2014 AsiaCup champion hasn’t been to Buriram before, he has had some good fortune in being able to run it via a new cutting edge virtual reality simulator, recently launched only minutes from his home in Japan’s capital city.
Parsons had a strong showing in the previous round, at the iconic Suzuka 1000km, comfortably matching the pace of his ex-Formula 1 driver team-mate for the event, Christian Klien, and producing the fastest time of the three Taisan SARD drivers during the race.
The team ultimately suffered race-ending tyre issues at the event, but the young Aussie is confident going into this penultimate race weekend of the 2017 season. “The glass-smooth surface at Buriram will definitely provide its own challenges in managing the tyres. We tested at Motegi recently and discovered what the cause of our tyre problems were at Suzuka though, so we’re all much happier and more confident going into the final rounds. And from a personal point of view, knowing that I was matching the times of a former F1 driver has given me massive confidence in my own ability moving forward too.”
Off the track, Parsons has been enjoying sponsor events with his Taisan SARD team. The GT300 driver took on the Team SARD GT500 driver Kohei Hirate in a demonstration and drag race at the opening of a Heli Park in Fukushima last week. The pair put on a close and entertaining battle for the crowds, alongside the Red Bull Air Race.
The 2015 Formula Masters China Series runner-up is also continuing to work hard on his motorsport future, with potential sponsors and backers, looking towards building on his debut year in Japan’s premier racing series. “I’m really excited to have a good finish to the season and show what I can do in these final two races, with Motegi especially suiting our car. I’m very keen to begin focusing on the 2018 season, and to take that step forward and establish myself strongly in the series, battling for victories and championships.”
Round seven of the SuperGT Championship takes place at Chang International Circuit, Buriram on 7-8 October.