Thomas Randle is back in the Australian motor sport scene this year and is proving once again just how capable he is in the Australian Sports Sedan Series.
The 22-year-old will be racing at the next Shannons Nationals event at Queensland Raceway, following a successful previous round at Sydney Motorsport Park in the series.
Despite an unlucky start to the season at The Bend, Randle has been impressed with the SAAB he’s been driving this season.
“I am quite content with how the season has progressed albeit our two DNF’s at Tailem Bend, the Skye Sands SAAB Sports Sedan has been phenomenal to drive, thanks to Dad and the guys who have worked so hard on it,” Randle said.
“So far this season we’ve grabbed five race wins, two round wins and a pole position.
“It’s a very nice feeling being back home in Australia and I’ve got to thank my family, Rusty French and my other supporters for giving me the incredible opportunity to race overseas, however I feel more of a sense of enjoyment racing here.”
Prior to Randle’s motor sport career, his father Dean was an avid competitor and champion in the Sports Sedans – Randle adding it was great to spend time together at events.
“Dad really enjoys watching me racing in the SAAB… I’ve asked him on multiple occasions if he ever wanted to get ‘back in the saddle’ or just do one or two laps, but he says he has no interest in getting back in the car and just likes watching me in it, battling against the likes of Tony Ricciardello,” Randle said.
“As a former champion of the category, I think he just doesn’t want to show me up.
“We both really enjoy the Sports Sedan weekend because there really isn’t too much pressure and it’s just awesome to be able to spend quality time with one another.”
As well as competing in the Sports Sedans this season, Randle has sunk his teeth in the Dunlop Super2 Series, which supports the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
When speaking about the differences of the machinery he’s driving, Randle added that racing the SAAB helps him prepare for the Super2 races.
“It’s a bit of a different mentality to the Super2 weekends, that’s for sure,” Randle added.
“Driving the Sports Sedan definitely helps me prepare for the Super2 events—that’s one of the main reasons why I have been doing it.
“The biggest thing for me is the racing mileage, which you can’t get practice in when you’re testing. In saying that, Super2 has very limited testing anyway, so there are only so many laps I can compete in the Supercar.
“The Sports Sedan is an animal to drive—740-horsepower, a live rear end and no ABS or traction control. There aren’t many other categories that can provide training like that.
“Other than just the extra mileage I’m getting, it also means more mental and physical training, hand-eye coordination and general race craft.
“Depending on what happens for the rest of the Super2 season, I would really like to do the Skye Sands Sports Sedan Series again next year. Unfortunately this year the final round of the championship clashes with my last Super2 round.”
Randle will next appear at Townsville for his next Super2 round, before racing at Queensland Raceway as part of the Shannons Nationals.
The Victorian driver last competed at Queensland Raceway in the V8 Touring Car Series as a one-off race last year.
The Shannons Nationals round at Ipswich will run next month on 28-29 July.