Article by Chris Starrs appearing in the Athens, Georgia USA based Athens Banner-Herald newspaper and onlineathens.com on Tuesday, May 26, 2009.
"Tom Drewer is a long way from his native Australia, but the up-and-coming race car driver is making himself right at home in Athens.
The 24-year-old, who grew up in a family of racers, sold everything he owned to move to America in 2008 to try and make his way on unfamiliar courses in an alien environment..."
"..."When I got here, I didn't know a soul and was all by myself," said Drewer, who hails from the South Australian town of Adelaide. "It's been a new experience and it's been amazing. Athens is a fantastic little town. It reminds me of some of the bigger country towns in Australia."
Drewer first set up shop in Buford and signed on with the West Race Car USA Team, winning the International Motor Sports Association's Lites 2 championship last year.
In addition, Drewer won 10 of 12 races he entered, including his maiden American run at the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring event in Florida and his first Canadian race at the Mosport circuit. He also qualified on the pole 11 times and holds lap records at five North American tracks, including Road Atlanta.
His driving grabbed the attention of Athens' Kevin Kloepfer, who owns and operates Comprent Motor Sports, a full-service racing team that has piled up numerous awards in its 22 years of competition.
"Last year, Kevin and I had been eyeing each other a little bit," said Drewer in his unmistakable Aussie accent. "It seemed that we kept meeting in the winner's circle and as the year progressed, I became a viable option to move up to Lites 1. I'm trying to make the jump from semi-professional to someone who's paid to race on Sundays and Comprent is helping with my progress."
"We won the Lites 1 championship in 2008 and Tom won the Lites 2 championship with another team," said Kloepfer. "He wanted to be with somebody who knew cars and knew how to win. We talked a little bit and he wanted to move up from L1, and we were the next logical step."
Drewer races in Georgia-constructed junior prototype cars, which he terms as an "Indy car with a little more body work, essentially an open-wheel Formula car with extra bodywork over the wheels."
The cars - which are in the junior category to the famous LeMans Series - can top out at speeds of 160 mph and average some 115 mph on the circuit, which in most cases feature plenty of corner turns and chilling curves.
"Unlike NASCAR, we have corner turns in both directions," quips Drewer, who was mentored early in his career by three-time World Champion Nikki Lauda and has competed since an early age in karting, the South Australian Drivers Championship, the Australian Thundersports category and the V8 Giant Supercar Series.
He recently competed in the Utah Grand Prix, but Drewer hasn't had the same success in Lites 1 as he did a year ago.
"We've struggled a little bit but we're starting to see some results," said Kloepfer, who added most of his client drivers own their own cars, but he rents one to Drewer. "He's obviously on a tight budget and is doing what he can. He does an excellent job of promoting."
Added Drewer: "Racing is a lot different from something like golf or tennis. It's very challenging due to the role finances play. It's a big battle for any driver to find the financing he needs. It's a big investment and a big commitment.
"My mother and father are putting all their pay packets into racing and I sold everything to come here and pursue my dream. It's a tough sport - most of my time is spent trying to make the next deal to get to the next (race)."
While Drewer plans to continue participating in open-wheel races, he's not closing the door on competing in non-LeMans Circuit events.
"NASCAR is getting more interesting to Australians, and I'd love to at least try it one day," he said. "It's a different style of racing and a lot of the open-wheel drivers who have done it have struggled. It obviously takes a lot of skill. I'd also love to run the Indianapolis 500 as well. But right now I'd just like to see those styles of racing - the Daytona 500 is at the top of my list, just above the Indy 500.
"But my main goal is to emulate my fellow Australian drivers, like David Brabham, who's now racing in the American LeMans Series, (NASCAR Sprint Cup driver) Marcus Ambrose, and Vern Schuppan, the only Australian to win the 24 Hours of LeMans, which he did in a Porsche."
Besides family and friends, Drewer said the only thing he really misses from back home is the beach.
"I didn't realize how much time I spent at the beach until I got here," he said. "I miss the ocean and watching the dolphins play with each other. I like to go to Savannah and other towns on the coast so I can see a bit of the water"."
Article appearing in the May 25 edition of Auto Action Magazine.
"...Menwhile Tom Drewer was also competing at Miller Motorsports Park in rounds three and four of the IMSA Lites One series. Drewer recorded his first top six finish of the year with an impressive run..."
Click on image to read article.
Australian Tom Drewer has recorded his first top-six finish in the IMSA Lites 1 category at the American Le Mans Series Utah Grand Prix, held at Miller Motorsports Park.
Drewer pushed hard in Round 3 from 8th on the grid to move up through the field, at one stage lapping faster than the leaders, and looked set for a podium finish. However in his quest to reach the front the young Aussie began to over heat his tyres while rapidly catching his team mate, Jonathan Gore who went on to claim third. Drewer got within inches of Gore, but had extracted everything out of his Daily Planet Elan DP-02 and had to go into 'conservation mode' to bring it home.
In Round 4 after again starting 8th, Drewer struggled with car balance early on and lost track position. He battled with the car, which appeared to have little grip until the midway point of the race, when finally the chassis began to grip up. Drewer showed good pace in the second half of the race and caught 6th and 7th placed Marcelli and Gibson, passing Gibson with a lap and a half to go.
"I was pleased with yesterday's performance, but a little frustrated today. Overall we showed an improvement from Sebring and we're working hard on a few things that are keeping us from the front. I was really happy to see the team get a podium this weekend, and for my team-mate Jonathan. It shows we're heading in the right direction. Lites 1 is particularly competitive and I'm really happy to have had a top six finish in only my third race. A podium was nearly on the cards this weekend and I think that a win could be just around the corner if we continue to progress as we have."
Drewer's next race is at New Jersey Motorsports Park on June 13 and 14 for rounds 5 and 6 of the 2009 IMSA Lites Championship Presented by Frisby Performance Tire.
Article by Chris J. Miller appearing in the Utah Standard-Examiner on Saturday, May 16, 2009.
"Although it's a week late, young Australian race car driver Tom Drewer is sending out his Mother's Day card.
And he's going to be quick about it.
Drewer had to spend last weekend away from home, preparing for this weekend's Utah Grand Prix.
He says his 'Mum' has always been supportive of his motor racing and he wanted to show her his appreciation..."
"...So he fastened his Mother's Day message to his racing helmet, which he'll be using in the 2009 IMSA Lites races at Miller Motorsports Park.
"When she sees it, I'll be doing around 160 miles per hour. I guess it's the world's fastest Mother's Day card," said Drewer who hopes for back-to-back Lites Championships for both himself and his Comprent team.
Qualifying and Race 1 is today, with Race 2 on Sunday, prior to the American Le Mans Series Utah Grand Prix later in the day.
For information, visit millermotorsportspark.com."