“IT'S great to be getting back to racing.” declared Cork racer Lucca Allen, who had his first session behind the wheel of a racing car in some six months when he took part in a test day at Mondello Park on Saturday last.
Allen was one several racing drivers that returned to some form of track activity since the lockdown began last March.
The Shanagarry teenager is preparing for a new season and a new category as he steps up to Super Formula Lights series in Japan. Last December he clinched the F4 SEA Championship at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia beating Finland’s Elias Seppanen.
For the Mondello test, Allen drove an early generation Formula 3 car belonging to the very experienced and ex-Irish Formula Ford champion Paul Dagg.
“Paul’s car is probably the closest to the car I will use in Japan. While there isn’t a massive difference, the Formula Lights car has more downforce and speed. Nevertheless, it is was good in terms of getting to high speeds.”
The test also provided Allen with some indications as to how it affected a recent back injury.
“My personal fitness was going well but then I hurt my back and I was unable to train for the last while. The physiotherapists are re-opening so I am getting it sorted.
"Surprisingly, the back pain didn’t hinder my performance. It took a few laps to get into the groove, overall it was a very physical day and I got in about sixty laps of the national circuit.”
Although he is set to travel to Japan next month for the first test session and some sponsor engagements, he will use some of the intervening time on a simulator learning the Japanese tracks.
The move to Super Formula Lights will represent a big increase in terms of time working with his team engineer.
Allen has retained support from Right Price Tiles, Cully & Sully and Ballymaloe Relish.
“We are also hoping to secure some additional sponsors after some positive soundings in Japan.”
Another track session with Paul Dagg is also looming.
“Yes, we are planning to go to Kirkistown in Northern Ireland. That track has plenty of downforce corners and heavy braking zones so we will be working on a different side of driver coaching.”
The revamped Super Formula Lights calendar begins in Motegi with three rounds on the final weekend of August.
This is followed by a double round in Okayama on September 26-27, triple rounds in Sugo on October 17-18, Autopolis (November 14-15) and Suzuka (December 5--6) before the final triple-header in Fuji on December 19-20 that brings the series to a conclusion.