CORK racing ace Lucca Allen (18) is set to fly out to Japan early next week for some two months to compete in the second half of the rebranded Super Formula Lights series with Albirex Racing.
The reigning Formula 4 South East Asia champion missed the earlier part of the season due to the restrictions in relation to Covid-19.
Under the elite athlete scheme, he was recently approved for temporary residency in Japan and flies to Tokyo on Tuesday next.
It will be a baptism of fire as he has scarcely driven at all this season with the exception of an outing in the Leinster Trophy race at Mondello Park in an older model Dallara-engined Formula 3 car.
In addition, he’s recovering from a back injury.
“I injured it over the lockdown earlier in the year, probably as a result of over training and not doing the right stretches and stuff.
"All my training at that time was running on concrete.”
Allen admitted he probably indulged in a little too much of the Ballymaloe cuisine and in the last while has been shedding a few kilos.
The Shanagarry teenager is determined to make most of the experience.
“I am doing as much cycling as I can, plus body weights, push ups and sit ups at the local boxing gym in Shanagarry.”
He has put a hold on his third-level education as he concentrates on his racing career.
“It will be a new car, new track, new everything I guess, but I want to do the best I can and build up experience for next season.
"However, I consider myself lucky to be racing at this time, especially as there isn’t a lot of commercial sponsorship available due to the current pandemic.”
His current sponsors include Right Price Tiles, Cully and Sully, Actavo, Ballymaloe Cookery School, Cameron Cars and Ballymaloe Original Relish.
The series consists of six rounds, three of which have already been completed in recent weeks.
The first of the remaining three rounds begins on November 14th, each round has three races.
Each team has two drivers – the Albirex team also includes a local Japanese driver.
Allen has one private test day in the coming weeks and then official practice ahead of the fourth round triple header in Kamitsue.
The other rounds are in Suzuka (December 5/6) and Fuji (December 19/20) after which Allen makes his way back home.