Nick Cassidy – there is a man who is making a name for himself. Born in New Zealand, the Kiwi racer is on track to make his Le Mans debut in the next couple of years. He says so himself – and rightly so.
2016 proved a vital year for Cassidy, who finished 5th in the Japanese Super GT, and 4th in the FIA European F3 championships. A second in the Japan 1,000 km was evidently a great achievement and one he depicts as a stand-out moment from last season.
“Overall there were many highs and lows throughout 2016,” he tells me. “I was very pleased with my debut year in Super GT and had some highs that will stay with me for a very long time.
“The most obvious one was finishing 2nd at the Suzuka 1,000 km race. I was fighting one of the most experienced Super GT drivers on the grid for the biggest race of the year, to be the youngest ever winner. Ultimately we missed out by just 1.2 seconds, but for Lexus and TOM’S it was still a great result.
Cassidy’s European campaign wasn’t quite so straight forward; weekends often yielded frustrating results. Driving for PREMA, giants of F3, Cassidy did however feature on the podium multiple times. Despite tyre problems plaguing races, Nick clawed the points back to finish in a strong position in the championship at the end of the season.
“In Europe, my year was a lot more up and down, with many of those things ultimately outside of my control. My highs would have to be the weekends at Zanvoort and Paul Ricard, winning my first FIA European Formula 3 race, and finishing 2nd on multiple occasions,” he says.
“The lows were having issues with tyres at Hungaroring, meaning we basically missed out on 3 races. This meant we had to start from last in the races at Norisring after a gearbox failure in Qualifying.”
Cassidy notes that he is lucky to be where he is, living a lifestyle that an ordinary 22-year-old could only dream of. Racing, however, is the cherry on top of the cake.
“I guess I’m fortunate enough to have a few highlights – which makes it difficult to choose! Finishing 3rd at Macau on debut with T-Sport would have to be up there, along with winning the Japanese Formula 3 Title with TOM’S in 2015,” Cassidy reflects. “It’s hard to pinpoint a single aspect to look forward to for 2017.”
Last week, Cassidy revealed his 2017 plans on social media, confirming that he’ll be competing in both the SUPER GT500 – with Team TOM’S – and the SUPER FORMULA – with Kondo Racing.
“In a way, my racing schedule is similar to 2016 in the fact I am doing two complete Championships, but now they are both in Japan and both with Lexus/Toyota it makes it easier for the focus to be more concentrated on each one,” he comments.
“The fact that I am racing the best guys in the world in both series excites me, and I’m more looking forward to getting to work and doing the best job I can.
“Overall I am very happy with where I am currently. I love the Japanese culture and working with those around me in Japan, not just the racing side. In Super GT and Super Formula, I am driving some of the fastest cars in the world – there isn’t much more you could ask for as a racing driver!”
The New Zealand-born racer has high expectations for the coming years, hoping to one day follow in the footsteps of some of the best racers to have ever graced the planet.
“My biggest short-term goal is to win the Championship in Super GT, while long-term I would love to be competing for the win at Le Mans in the future.”
Nick Cassidy – or Cass as he is better known as to friends – enjoys travelling and with that, comes a passion for photography. You only have to scroll down his Instagram (www.instagram.com/nickcassidy_ ) for that to be revealed.
“Through moving away from home alone to concentrate on racing from a relatively early age, I have found many hobbies and interests along the way. Travel and seeing new places is something I really enjoy, and have got to the stage where I am fairly restless staying in the same place a couple of weeks!
“I often travel with close friends in the off-season, enjoying a life away from the racing. Over these travels my favourite city would still be Queenstown in New Zealand – quite close to home and to me one of the most beautiful places in the world.”