I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone back home.
What an amazing weekend this has been. I keep saying it but, cheap champagne has never tasted better! An absolutely perfect way to start the season. I couldn't have done any of it with out the support from everyone back in Australia. Thank you. I would expecially like to thank my mother and father, Jacquie and Mike, and Terry Little, and everyone else who has had the continued faith in my ability. I would also like to thank WEST Race Cars Australia and Greg Steer for giving me the drive in Australia that led to this opportunity in America with WEST and PVM Racing. A big thanks to everyone who has donated their hard earned, too. It is something else to look down on the car and see your names there. On my steering wheel I have written 'Every tenth'. More than ever, every tenth counts this year and every tenth is for you. I will continue to push hard and focus on obtaining our goal of the 2007 IMSA Lites championship. Thanks, keep an eye on the website and enjoy! Tom.
Tom Drewer has begun his campaign for the 2008 IMSA Lites L2 Championship in the best possible fashion after clinching race two at the first round held at the famous 56th Annual Mobil Twelve Hours of Sebring.
It completes a perfect start to the season for Drewer who took out both races and set 2 new race lap records for the L2 class.
‘Racing at the historic Sebring circuit has always been an ambition of mine. To come here for the first time and win both races in L2 is pretty special, especially as this is my first round in the IMSA Lites.
In some ways this race was all about managing my track position, unlike yesterday where I had to storm through the field. It was a little disappointing to not maintain my starting position of 10th on the grid but we always expected a couple of the faster L1 cars to be coming through after incidents in race 1.
The main thing was to push hard and do consistent lap times to keep the gap to the next L2 competitor. We did this well mid race where I put down some very consistent lap times, and even though the grip levels on the circuit were deteriorating we managed to get the fastest lap on lap 10 with a 2:09.325.
Collecting maximum points is a great start to the season because over 6 rounds and 12 races anything can happen and these points may come in handy later in the year.’
The race was won overall by Jonathan Goring in an L1 Elan DP02 and the L2 podium was completed by Alain Nadal, WEST WR1000, and Alex Gonzarlez, WEST WR1000.
Sebring is only Drewer’s second race meeting with the new WEST WR1000 ‘Tunnel Floored’ car.
‘WEST, my PVM Team along with the other L2 competitors are still developing the best set-up for ‘Tunnel’ car on the IMSA spec Hankook tyres. It’s going to be an interesting battle all year with the L1 cars. Even though we’re not racing them for championship points we obviously want to win outright. I think with some more seat time and development we could be right up there.
I want to thank Eric Vassain and everyone at PVM Racing and from WEST Race Cars both in Australia and the USA for giving me this opportunity. Also I thank very much my father and manager Terry Little who have believed in me for so long.’
PVM Team owner Vassain said he was delighted with Drewer’s performance.
‘It’s a big move to come over to the States and race and Tom has done himself and PVM proud at Sebring. He won the Championship for WEST down under in Australia last year and he has started in the USA in the best possible way. It’s great having a little Aussie with us at PVM’, Vassain said.
Tom Drewer has dominated Race 1 in the IMSA Lites L2 category at the famous 56th Annual Mobil Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Drewer won the L2 category convincingly setting a new class race lap record, 6.5 seconds in front of the next L2 driver, and finished in 8th position overall.
‘Winning the first race and tasting the champagne on the podium is a fantastic way to start the season, and to be so competitive with the L1’s this early in the season, it really couldn’t be better.
I think I’m also the first non-American to ever win a race in IMSA Lites L2. So it’s been a real day of firsts.
It was particularly good after yesterday’s qualifying session where things didn’t quite go to plan. I was held up early in the session and then due to an incident it was red flagged leaving me in position 2 in class and 16th overall in the 35 car grid. I just didn’t get a clean lap but we certainly made up for it today and showed what we are really capable of’
The race was plagued by incidents and two safety car periods, but Drewer and his PVM Racing WEST WR1000 ‘tunnel car’ came away unscathed.
‘Everyone was driving extremely hard and the amount of dust and dirt brought onto the circuit from off-track excursions kept changing the track conditions. You didn’t really know just how much grip there was going to be heading into each corner.
The safety car was brought out twice as a result of incidents around the track which was a shame because my lead over the next L2 driver kept being diminished. But in the end I was able to keep with the top L1 drivers and extend my lead.’
The race was won overall by Jonathan Goring driving an L1 Elan DPO2, while the L2 podium was completed by Alain Nadal and Drewer’s team mate Eric Vassian.
Drewer now looks forward to Race 2, to be held tomorrow afternoon, Friday March 14.
‘Our fastest lap time in the race means we’ll start tomorrow’s race in position 10. We still have a bit of work to do in fine tuning the new WEST ‘tunnel floored’ chassis, it’s a brand new chassis in IMSA Lites this year, and I think we will be able to go even faster tomorrow and place even higher overall. But this is just Race 1 of a long Championship and we have to keep that in perspective. Anything can happen tomorrow in Race 2, and Sebring is a pretty unforgiving place. The main thing is to finish and keep collecting points for the championship.
I want to thank everyone at PVM Racing and from WEST Race Cars both in Australia and the USA for giving me this opportunity.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank my supporters back home in Australia. I couldn’t be doing this without you and I will continue to do you proud.’
Drewer’s Australian manager Terry Little said that after today’s result ‘it would be fitting for him to get some financial backing’.
‘He has sold up everything to race in the USA and that’s a big ask. He is a young Aussie that is having a real go and he certainly has the goods to deliver for a sponsor’, Little added.
Tom Drewer has finished 9th outright at the SCCA Tom Nehl Classic XXX at the 3.25 kilometre Roebling Road circuit near Savannah, Georgia in his debut race in the USA.
Drewer qualified 4th fastest in the DSR class with an IMSA Spec car, out qualifying his experienced team mate, Eric Vassian, and was the highest placed WEST.
The highly modified Stohrs of Jean-Luc Liverato, Dorian Foyil, and Ken Tyrrell set a blistering place all weekend and in the end proved too strong for the IMSA spec WEST, but never the less Drewer was pleased with the performance of the car and himself.
‘We really set out to use the Roebling Road race as a test session. It was fantastic to finally get a chance to push the new tunnelled floored WEST on a high down force circuit like Roebling Road. I thought Phillip Island and Eastern Creek (Australian circuits) had their moments but this place is unreal.
‘I was extremely happy with the performance of the car. It felt very balanced and the grip levels were maintained through out the race. We had a very neutral car.
‘The racing in the SCCA series is great. I didn’t know what to expect but these guys have some awesome machinery and race extremely hard. I didn’t think I would be able to catch or stay with a worked Stohr at the start of the weekend but we did pretty well considering we were about 40hp down on those cars and this is a really high speed circuit with my average race lap speed being around 180 kilometres per hour.
‘I took a fairly conservative approach on the start experiencing my first rolling start and found my self behind the Stohr of Garry Cook after pulling away from my team mate, Eric Vassian.
‘The Stohr would pull around fifteen metres on me down the main straight, but I was reeling him in under brakes at turn 1 and turn 2.
‘I spent a lot of time hustling him through the twisty back section because he was holding me up, and I was filling his mirrors for most of the race apart form a short stint in front when I passed out of the last corner.
‘I was just waiting to pounce again towards the end of the 23 lap race but got tagged on my right rear wheel which resulted in spin and a deflating tyre. It was just a racing incident but it was a shame as I think I was in line for a genuine fourth or fifth outright given that I was running sixth at the time.
‘But I come out of this event with a lot of positives. My car is performing extremely well and I feel comfortable and confident with both my machinery and my PVM team. To be so strong with the outright DSR cars is great. I think we will have a very competitive package at the Sebring IMSA event.
‘I take this opportunity to thank all my supporters back home in Australia’.
Drewer’s IMSA Lites race debut is at Sebring on March 13/14.