Australian single-seater racer and BRDC Rising Star Thomas Randle has kept himself quite busy on his return from the United Kingdom.
The 20 year old driver from Melbourne who was a double winner in the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship this year arrived back in Melbourne on Saturday night, where he went on to sample a Nissan Altima V8 Supercar on Tuesday and the new Formula Thunder 5000 car on Wednesday.
Thomas was selected by Nissan in 2015 to test drive their car, however other commitments delayed the test and on Tuesday, Randle headed up to Winton raceway in 36 degree heat to sample the current spec V8 supercar. In just 14 laps on very old tyres, Randle got to grips with the Nissan Altima V8 to better Todd Kelly’s (current Nissan V8 Supercar driver) time that he set in the morning by 0.03 secs.
“Firstly I’d like to thank Nissan Motorsport, the Kelly brothers and the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship for the opportunity. It was very different to the cars that I have been used to driving in the UK and Europe, however I felt like I adapted to the car well in the short running that we had. To have matched Todd [Kelly]’s time from his morning stint on the same tyres was an added bonus for me, and maybe sometime down the track they may give me another chance to drive it!”
The following day, Randle got to have a small taste of the new Formula Thunder 5000 (FT5000) car at Phillip Island. These cars run a 5 litre Ford V8 engine with around 500-600hp, an ex Formula Nippon carbon tub and rear tyres as wide as the old F5000 cars.
“I’d like to thank Chris Lambden for giving me the opportunity to drive his new FT5000 car. It definitely opened up my eyeballs down the straights and reminded me of the power from the Formula V8 3.5 car. Less aero was definitely something I would need to get used to in a car with that much power. I think Chris and Mike (Borland) have done a great job so far, and I hope that they can make a competitive championship out of it.”