Thomas Randle has set his sights on a full-time campaign in the 2022 Supercars after an absorbing and draining, but ultimately satisfying weekend at the famous Bathurst 1000.
The reigning Super2 champion achieved his best result in Australia’s biggest motorsport event, teaming up with James Courtney to finish seventh in the Great Race.
The result was all the more momentous after an earlier incident which sent the Boost Mobile Ford Mustang a lap down.
“It’s a long week, the longest of the year for me – and I’m still kicking myself, and I will do for a while for the mistake I made early in the race,” Randle said.
“But I’m so proud of the way James and the entire team never gave in and we fought like hell to get back into the contest and to be top ten is a nice result – it certainly wasn’t looking like that after my off.”
Randle caused the first safety car period of this year’s Bathurst 1000 after beaching himself in the Hell Corner sandpit at turn one.
“I just made a simple error that cost us in the first half of the race,” Randle said.
“Thankfully there was almost no damage to the car and we were able to push on once we were pulled out of the sand.”
Seventh was Randle’s best finish in the Great Race in his third attempt at Mount Panorama’s marathon.
He had previously finished ninth on debut with Lee Holdsworth at Tickford Racing in 2019, before failing to finish with Nick Percat and Brad Jones Racing last year.
On the back of the impressive recovery, Tickford Racing was able to secure third in the Teams’ Championship.
Earlier in the week, Randle took the covers off the car he’ll campaign in 2022 – unveiling the Castrol backed Ford Mustang he’ll race next season.
“We got some fantastic feedback on the look of the car, and I must admit it was a surreal feeling to be unveiling my very own Supercar in pitlane at Bathurst,” Randle said.
“To have Castrol onboard as well is just enormous – it’s such an iconic motorsport brand – and the green #55 will hopefully be a serious contender next year.”
Tickford Racing will grow to a four-car operation for next season, with Randle joining Cameron Waters, Jake Kostecki and Courtney in the impressive line-up.
“I know the boys and girls in this team are hanging for a break after such a difficult season dealing with COVID, but I just can’t wait for March already to be honest,” Randle said.
“On paper it’s such a good group of drivers, and we have some of the best people behind the scenes running the show, so I can’t wait for 2022!
“I’m just so appreciative of Castrol and BP, plus my loyal supporters Herzog Steel, ACT Fence Hire, and Infinium Advisory who have made all of this possible – I’m a lucky boy to be living my dream!”
Off the track, Randle was able to make the dream come true for a young man he became friends with whilst battling cancer treatment together last year.
Twenty-three-year-old Michael Arkalis from Melbourne was a guest of Randle and his family across the Bathurst weekend – where he had the experience of a lifetime.
Arkalis spent the weekend in the Tickford garage, plus was a part of the driver parade, took a lap of the track in the safety car, and met some of the sport’s biggest names.
“Michael is an inspiration to me, so I’m so thrilled he had the time of his life across the weekend and I’m so thankful to my family, Tickford Racing and Supercars for giving him so many great moments and memories across the weekend,” Randle said.
“And I’d love to give a shoutout to the Monster girls who made a TikTok video with Michael – I’ve watched it twenty times and smiles from ear to ear every time I see it!”
The 2022 Championship schedule was unveiled during the Bathurst week – which will be contested across 13 rounds.
Randle’s debut as full-timer begins in March on the streets of Newcastle.