This weekend sees Nick Cassidy bid farewell to his Japan racing career, and it has the Kiwi feeling a “little bit sad.”
Cassidy has spent the last six seasons racing across a range of categories in Asia. Last year saw him secure the ‘triple crown’ in Japanese motorsport – claiming titles in Japanese Formula 3, Super GT and Super Formula.
While most of his on-track action this season, which was set to include a debut in the World Endurance Championship, was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 has been a significant year for Cassidy.
The 26-year-old had his first outing in a Formula E car at a rookies’ test in Marrakesh. There, he obliterated the previous lap record and was eventually signed to the Envision Virgin team for the full 2021 campaign.
As such, Cassidy will relocate to the United Kingdom for the start of the new Formula E season, which kicks off in January. He has already confirmed that he will not be returning to race in Japan full-time next year.
In the build-up to this weekend’s Super Formula finale at Fuji Speedway, Cassidy’s last race in Japan, the Kiwi says leaving the place he has called home for the most of the last decade has left him feeling flat.
“It’s a strange feeling,” Cassidy said at the Fuji pre-race press conference.
“I am a little bit sad. My mood is a bit different this weekend. Usually, I’m quite excited and quite loud, but this weekend I am quiet and sad because it’s the last time racing in this category.
“The last six years of my career have been amazing, and I’d like to thank everyone for their support.
“This has been super fun racing in this championship…I think it is amazing so thank you all very much.
“I’ve had many happy moments. There are always some regrets and things I wish I did differently, but overall I am proud of my achievements. On to the next step.”
Cassidy could add one more title to the CV come tomorrow. The TOM’S Toyota driver sits just nine-points behind tied leaders Ryo Hirakawa and Naoki Yamamoto with 23 on offer for the weekend.
Unfortunately, his bid for a repeat title was sucker-punched at the previous race in Suzuka when his engine let-go while leading.
But instead of receiving a fresh power unit replacement for the finale, Cassidy will have to run a two-year-old engine, putting his title aspirations another small step out of reach.
“I think my championship hopes went up in smoke in the last race.
“We had the engine failure, lost a lot of points. That was a bit unlucky. This weekend, we have to use an engine that’s two years old. I don’t get a fresh engine; I get a very old engine.
“So, maybe this weekend there is no chance.
“I will do my best to support Ryo and give him the best chance to lift the title.
“But no matter my attitude, if I am happy or I am sad, I will fight until the chequered flag.”
The final round of the 2020 Super Formula Championship will be streamed live on YouTube from 6 pm NZT.