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Sep 15, 2014

OPEN WHEEL YOUNG GUN SET FOR SPORTS SEDAN NATIONAL DEBUT THIS WEEKEND


Emerging open-wheel star Thomas Randle will make his national ‘tin top’ debut when he climbs aboard his father’s championship winning SAAB Aero for this weekend’s round of the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series, to be held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit (19-21 September).

At just 18 years of age, the year 12 Beaconhills College student has already made a name for himself in the world of karting both domestically and internationally, and is currently making waves in his first full season of the Australian Formula Ford Championship.

This weekend’s national Sports Sedan debut will come after a single state-level Sports Sedan event in father Dean Randle’s 2010 national title winning (with James Sera at the wheel) SAAB Aero, where he impressed by resetting the race lap record and qualifying on pole at Winton earlier this year.

Thomas Randle (credit - James Smith)

“Racing in a Sports Sedan after a Formula Ford is definitely a little different; you are dealing with a lot more power, you have got slick tyres, the weight distribution is a lot different and the car is about double the weight. You have a roof over your head and are sitting in a different position to the right rather than the centre, you have power steering, and you really do feel it when you push down the throttle!” said Randle.

 “We did a test day two weeks before the state-round that was part of the V8 Supercars event at Winton, and I felt like I picked it up pretty quickly. I think having driven the Formula Ford car before the Sports Sedan really helped me with car control, I am pretty happy that I haven’t spun it yet – touch wood!

“My confidence grew each time I got in the car, and the round itself was pretty good. We went there aiming for a lap record and we got that in the second race. We did have a lot of things go wrong though with some mechanical issues, and then in race one when I was qualified on pole by something like 3.5 seconds, I had the diff explode off the start!

“We have done a lot of preparation leading in to this round, we have gone over the whole car with a fine-tooth comb to make sure something like that doesn’t happen again. All in all, despite the issues at Winton, the car was really good to drive and has so much grip, you can have so much confidence in a car like that!"

Randle is expecting some great racing for the category at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

Thomas Randle in action (credit - James Smith)


“While I haven’t raced in a Sports Sedan at Phillip Island, I have raced there before and it is a terrific track, so fast and flowing and really smooth, the racing that can be produced there is phenomenal and I think whether you are in Formula Ford or a Sports Sedan the slip stream down the straight is just crazy, there should be some great racing this weekend!" said Randle.

“If we can achieve a lap record this weekend that will be incredible, and we will also try and get a win – I have never raced against Darren (Hossack) or Tony (Ricciardello) and I know they have a lot of experience and are going to be extremely tough to beat, but at the end of the day everyone wants to win!

“I can’t wait to get on-track as part of the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series – the Series is great and the guys at Kerrick are always friendly and up for a chat, what they do for the category is great and it is really great for Sports Sedan to have a partnership like that for this Series.”

The car Randle will pilot this weekend is a re-make of the 2006 Sports Sedan in which his father Dean claimed the 2006 Kerrick Sports Sedan Title. The new car was made in its image following a 2007 incident at Sandown which saw the original written off.

“This car is based off the 2006 car, but with some improvements like a full carbon fibre body. Dad has driven it since the rebuild including at Phillip Island in 2009 and 2011,” said Randle.

“There is some pressure definitely to not break dad’s car! But at the same time, for both dad and I, we are drivers, so you are at the end of the day going to go out there and drive as hard as you can and that is what everyone wants to see, and also what he wants to see.

“He has said to me before that he wants me to go out there and try my hardest and everything, and even when it is his car you want to go out there and go for lap records and race wins, without doing anything crazy on purpose of course!

“Dad has definitely had a great amount of impact on my racing career – if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t even be here, he has been racing since before I was born, and that whole passion for the sport has really rubbed off on me.

“Together we are always trying to find ways to go faster, and making sure we even when we are at the factory that we are preparing everything perfectly.

“He has told me that he prefers watching me go around than racing himself, and that is pretty special to me.

“Also being a fellow racer he sometimes gives me tips on what I am doing wrong, and he has always been there all through karting even overseas, and it is definitely good to have had that support from him.

“I think motor racing is pretty good for father and son bonding time too, you are away Friday, Saturday, Sunday and with a lot of other sports you wouldn’t have that kind of time. He loves it as much as I do, so that really helps! Obviously sometimes things get a bit heated as with all fathers and sons, but it ultimately all just comes down to the passion we have for what we are doing.”

Randle will be part of a 15-strong field of Kerrick Sports Sedan Series races at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit this weekend, with the Series enjoying its penultimate round of the 2014 season this weekend. For full event information including entry lists and event schedules, please click here.

The Kerrick Sports Sedan Series is one of the most exciting on the annual Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals calendar, pitting a range of ‘wild and winged’ modified sports sedans and Trans-Ams against each other. Part of The Nationals since its inception in 2006, the Kerrick Sports Sedans represent the fastest tin-tops in Australia and in some cases, the fastest outright cars on a number of national circuits. In 2014, the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series will contest five national circuit racing events across four states:

•       Round One – 25-27 April, Mallala Motorsport Park
•       Round Two – 13-15 June, Winton Motor Raceway
•       Round Three – 8-10 August, Queensland Raceway
•       Round Four – 19-21 September, Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit
•       Round Five – 17-19 October, Wakefield Park Motor Raceway

For more information on the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series, please visit www.sportssedans.com.au 





Watch the Sports Sedans in action on Fox Sports or SBS Speedweek!

1. Tony Ricciardello 640
 
2. Jack Perkins 465
 
3. Steven Tamasi 406
 
4. Michael Robinson 381
 
5. Colin Smith 373