Formula One hopeful Dan Ticktum secured an eighth place finish in his first Super Formula race as he bids to earn enough super licence points for an F1 drive.
The Red Bull junior driver had a promising start to the top level of Japanese single-seater motorsport as he impressed in a difficult race at Suzuka.
In the first of a seven-round championship, Ticktum – who started the race towards the back of the grid – made up ground in the opening laps. He appeared in the top ten before the deployment of numerous safety cars.
He lost time under the safety car during an early safety car period, but eventually fought back after his second stop to recover to eighth place, just behind fellow Red Bull junior driver Lucas Auer.
The race was won by Nick Cassidy – who finished runner-up in last season’s Super Formula series – ahead of Naoki Yamamoto and Kenta Yamashita.
Ticktum is seeking additional Super Licence points in order to qualify for an F1 seat in 2020, and he requires a championship finish of sixth place or higher to gain the additional points.
He currently has enough points to participate in free practice session in 2019, but it remains to be seen if he will be deployed in any FP1 sessions.
He has so far been involved in test outings for Red Bull Racing, who have used him as their allocated ‘young driver’, a requirement in Formula One test sessions.