Upon his return to America, Tom Drewer, the 2008 American IMSA Lites 2 Champion, has announced he will be driving for reigning Lites 1 Team Champions Comprent Motor Sports in the 2009 IMSA Lites Championship Presented by Frisby Performance Tire.
"I'm really excited to announce that I am competing in America again this year and I’ll be stepping up to Lites 1 with the Championship winning team, Comprent Motor Sports."
Drewer won the American Le Mans Series’ IMSA Lites 2 Championship last year, dominating the series winning 10 from 12 races and setting 5 track lap records.
This impressive feat lead to Australia’s AutoAction magazine naming Drewer 'Best Overseas Rookie' in their annual awards, and Wheels magazine including Drewer in their 'Hot Half Dozen Watch List' for 2009.
"After weighing up several options and series, I feel this is the next logical step in my international career, my progression towards driving GTs and Prototypes in the Le Mans Series, and winning the Le Mans 24 Hour outright."
The only Australian to ever achieve outright Le Mans honours is Vern Schuppan, fellow South Australian and long time supporter of Drewer, who won the world’s most gruelling sports-car race in 1983 driving for Porsche.
Comprent Motor Sports signed the young, up-and-coming Drewer after the Official IMSA Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway, Florida.
Comprent fielded three Panoz Élan DP-02 prototype sports cars, powered by Mazda and using Hankook tyres provided by Frisby Performance Tire.
Joining Drewer (Adelaide, AUS) for Comprent’s first 2009 test were American’s Jonathan Gore (Franklin, TN), Charlie Sheers (Houston, TX) and Wayne Ducote (New Orleans, LA).
Drewer will spearhead the championship assault for Comprent along with Gore and Sheers while Wayne Ducote will join the team for selected races throughout the 2009 Season with his son David (New Orleans, LA).
Team Owner Kevin Kloepfer was excited by the promise shown for the season ahead.
"I’m really looking forward to this year. There is going to be a great dynamic in the team this year with Tom joining Jonathan and Charlie. Last year we ran one car and had one Championship contender. This year we have three.
I was extremely happy with the way Tom is adapting to the bigger, heavier and faster Lites 1 car, and the speed Charlie and Jonathan showed.
We have a fantastic team and a strong platform from last year, to develop on. I’m confident we’ll have another Champion at the end of the year."
Comprent won the 2008 IMSA Lites 1 Championship convincingly, winning nine races with Jonathan Goring (Torrington, CT) at the helm.
Asked how he felt about the 2009 race year Drewer was just as excited.
"After my first season racing overseas it was great to spend the off-season and Christmas with my family, see all my mates and celebrate my championship win with everyone back home.
I’ve been working hard preparing, resetting my goals, training and putting together the best deal, although I am in need of more sponsors.
Now after getting back in the car I feel more energized than ever. It's great to be back in America and I feel at home with Comprent.
I know the competition in Lites 1 is going to be tough, especially from within my own team.
I don't know the car as well as the other guys. But, last year I didn't know the circuits and we won ten races so I know I can do it if I give it my all.
I'm getting comfortable in the Lites 1 car and I know the speed will be there for Sebring."
Drewer hopes the opening two rounds of the season, part of the famous Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring Event, will be a repeat of last year when he won both races in the Lites 2 class.
The next time Drewer and IMSA Lites Presented by Frisby Performance Tire will roll out on the Florida circuit is Friday, March 13 as, for official practice preceding Saturday's Round 1 race and Sunday's Round 2, 1 hour 15 minute enduro.