Returning to the team where he made his Supercars debut, newly crowned Dunlop Super2 Series champion Thomas Randle has signed a multi-year deal with Tickford Racing that will see him return to the team as a co-driver in the 2021 Bathurst 1000.
“I am very pleased to say I’m returning to Tickford Racing,” Randle said. “I got my first crack in a Supercar with Tickford so it’s great to come back and reignite the relationships I have with all the guys and girls in the workshop. We’ve had a lot of success together so I’m looking forward to achieving more of that on and off the track.”
The 24-year-old from Melbourne turned in a solid rookie season for Tickford’s Super2 program in 2018 that netted him the Mike Kable Young Gun award before picking up his first Super2 wins in 2019 along with his main game debut as a wild card at The Bend Motorsport Park and his co-driver debut partnering Lee Holdsworth in the 2019 Enduro Cup, where the stood on the podium at the Sandown 500 and took third overall in the endurance championship.
“Knowing I’ll be here for multiple years is fantastic,” Randle added, “it gives me a sense of security to do my best for the team. Having raced with Tickford before, I know the team environment and dynamic quite well, I know most of the guys and girls already, so that will put me a step ahead, I feel like I’ll be able to slot right in without missing a beat. I’m really looking forward to working with everyone on and off track to get the most out of myself and the whole team.”
Tickford Racing CEO and Team Principal Tim Edwards was delighted to confirm Randle’s return to the Tickford fold, one of nearly a dozen drivers who have progressed from Tickford’s Super2 program to competing at the top level of Australian motorsport.
“Thomas has impressed us in and out of the car since his first Super2 practice session all the way back in 2018 in Adelaide, so we’re thrilled to have him back for 2021,” Edwards said. “It doesn’t take much to realise Tom’s one of the best up and coming drivers of his generation. He’s overcome some extraordinary challenges in 2020 which we’ve all followed closely, and when the opportunity to work together in 2021 arose we were all delighted to make it happen. Our team and our fans are elated to have him back in the fold, and we are very much looking forward to many more successes together in the future.”
Randle’s on-track news coincides with the recent announcement that he has been jointly awarded the Innes Ireland Trophy, awarded by the British Racing Drivers’ Club to an individual that displays qualities of courage and sportsmanship epitomised by Ireland, a former BRDC president. In January, Randle was diagnosed with testicular cancer, but managed his challenges remarkably to be able to claim the Super2 championship and also compete at the Bathurst 1000 in October.
Randle shares the award with co-recipient Dr. Ian Roberts, Formula One’s Rescue Coordinator who heroically assisted Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean escape his harrowing accident at the Bahrain Grand Prix in November.
“It’s an incredible honour to be awarded the Innes Ireland Trophy,” Randle said. “I’ve been pinching myself ever since I received the email from David Coulthard, the BRDC president. To join a list that includes guys like Sir Stirling Moss, Daniel Ricciardo, Alex Zanardi, and Mark Webber, it’s pretty amazing, and to receive the award as an Australian is really special. Obviously 2020 has been a hard year for everyone, but to think where I was in January, in a hospital bed, and where I am now – a Super2 champion and on my way to a full-time Supercars career – I’m just very grateful for the opportunity and the people around me.”
Following a successful karting career and a single seater journey that saw him claim the 2014 Australian Formula Ford crown before heading to Europe as a teenager, Randle returned to Australasia to win the 2017 Toyota Racing Series before beginning his Super2 career in 2018, Having since established himself as one of the country’s brightest rising stars, the 24-year old is poised to continue his rise with one of the sport’s most successful teams.
“I just want to thank my family and supporters,” Randle said. “It’s been a long journey to get to this point with all the racing I’ve done and the CV we’ve put together, but it feels like it’s all been worth it now. I want to make all the Ford fans proud, so I’ll certainly give it my all to raise more trophies with the guys and girls at Tickford in the years to come.”
The 2021 Supercars Championship begins February 26-28 at the Mount Panorama 500, Randle’s first confirmed race will take place at the same venue eight months later at the Bathurst 1000, October 7-10, 2021.