Australian BRDC Rising Star Thomas Randle got his LMP3 career aspirations off to a cracking start after posting the fastest lap time of the weekend (1.02.4s) which ultimately became the circuit lap record. This secured Randle the Sunoco fastest pro driver of the weekend award.
The weekend began with a one hour practice session in the morning on Saturday where Randle was second fastest; one tenth off the quickest lap on very old tyres.
All the amateur/bronze drivers went out for qualifying and Thomas’ co-driver Mike qualified the car eight for the first race of the season.
As the first race got underway, the Douglas machine was running sixth right before Randle jumped into the car and unfortunately on Mikes second last lap he ran wide at the last corner, dropping the car to ninth. At the 30 minute mark Randle jumped in the car and drove for the remaining 30 minutes, climbing from ninth to finish fourth, posting the fastest lap of the race by three tenths.
“I am really happy with how the first race of the season went. Unfortunately we lost a little bit of time right before I jumped in, but the car was very nice to drive. It was extremely consistent and to get the fastest lap of the race, whilst still pumping out fast times at the end was great.
Other than on Thursday, the previous time I drove the car was last November, so I am very happy with my pace in the car. Hopefully we can be in another position tomorrow to challenge for the podium.
Sunday’s race however was filled with a few more challenges. In the early laps, Mike was hit from behind, sending him into a spin and dropping back down the order before a safety car helped him get back up into contention.
The car suffered rear body and floor damage, with the right rear wheel buckled, and a few of the spokes in the rim cracked.
Randle jumped aboard once again at the half way point and secured the second fastest lap in the race, just 0.07 of a second off with a damaged car, and crossing the line in sixth position.
“It was a bit of a shame that Mike was involved in a collision, and when I jumped in the car, I wasn’t aware of the damage that the car had sustained until I got out at the end of the race. In saying that, I was very happy with my pace considering we had an injured car, and I’d like to thank the team Douglas Motorsport for giving me a great car to drive and Mike Newbould for the incredible opportunity. Hopefully I can secure a few more LMP3 drives throughout the year in other racing series in Europe and America.”
The next round of the Henderson Insurance LMP3 Cup is on May 20-21 at Brands Hatch.