Young Australian driver Tom Drewer heads to the world famous Mosport circuit this weekend for Rounds 11 & 12 of the 2009 IMSA Lites Championship presented by Frisby Performance Tire, as part of the American Le Mans Series Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport, August 27-30.
Drewer can’t wait to hit the high-speed 2.5mile (4km), 10-corner track located 1 hour east of Toronto, near Bowmanville Ontario. After all, it is one of the fastest of the season, with Drewer expecting his Ubantu Resort Élan DP-02 prototype to average over 116mph (185km/h) and reach a maximum of 145mph (235 km/h).
“A year ago I won my first ever race at Mosport. It was my first race in Canada, and my first time driving the circuit, so it’s a very special place for me.”
In 2008 Drewer won the Lites 2 class after starting from pole position (in class). It was his 6th race win of the season and he went on to claim the 2008 IMSA Lites 2 Championship with ten wins from twelve starts.
This year Drewer has stepped up to the faster Lites 1 cars, and while he has adapted to the car quickly and has been a consistent front-runner, it hasn’t been the ‘dream-run’ he had last year.
“I think we’ve really made a steady progression this year and then in New Jersey I showed I have what it takes. We put the car on pole for Race 2, with the fastest Lites 1 lap of the weekend, and led half the race.
But I guess lady luck hasn’t been on my side this year. In the end we could only manage fourth in Jersey and then blistered tires kept us off the podium again at Lime Rock. The last rounds at Road America were a complete disaster. I was incorrectly issued a black flag by race control, which we had to obey. That ruined the whole weekend, costing me finishing position in race 1, starting position in race 2 and valuable championship points. We should be 4th or a solid 5th in the Championship. Now we’re 7th.”
The hardship isn’t getting Drewer down though. He’s focused on his dream and working harder than ever to achieve his goals of following in the footsteps of fellow countryman David Brabham in becoming Australia’s next Le Mans Series driver and Le Mans 24 Hour winner.
“I’m living my dream, racing here in North America. It has been a lot of sacrifice to get to this point. I’ve given up everything I own, and left everything behind to come here. A lot of people back home (in Australia), my family, supporters and sponsors are giving up a lot too. It’s a big effort.
2008 was an amazing first year over here. A bit of bad luck this year is nothing to worry about. That’s motor racing. For sure it’s frustrating, but with my new sponsor Ubantu Resort I’m determined to hold a trophy up high this weekend. That’s what I’m focused on.
I’m working hard off the track to finish the season strongly and make the progression to ALMS, or potentially GrandAm, GT or prototypes next year. Gary Daniels of Health Defence is conditioning me for long stints in endurance races. I’m working on my mental game too, and seeking sponsorship partners for next year.
I must say I’m really excited by the announcement of the Le Mans Prototype Challenge class (LMPC) for the ALMS next year. It is certainly one of the options I’m investigating.
Last year Mosport delivered my first win in Canada. Hopefully this year it can deliver my first win in Lites 1, and the first win for my Comprent Motor Sports team. The atmosphere is always amazing at Mosport and the track is as ballsy as they come. I can’t wait.”
Tom Drewer and his Ubantu Resort Élan DP-02 will hit the track tomorrow morning, Thursday, August 27 for the first of two test sessions. Official practice gets underway Friday. Qualifying will be held on Saturday along with Round 11 at 6.35pm. Round 12 will be held directly before the American Le Mans Series Race at 1:30pm on Sunday, August 30.
Article appearing in The Advertiser Newspaper (Adelaide, Australia) on Saturday, August 22, 2009. "Adelaide race driver Tom Drewer had his race weekend wrecked after an incorrect black flag during round nine of the IMSA Lites Championship at Road America..."
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Comprent Motor Sport driver Tom Drewer’s weekend was effectively ruined after he was incorrectly issued
a black flag during Round 9 of the 2009 IMSA Lites Championship at Road America.
Drewer qualified in sixth position for Round 9. However, after setting that time his sealed spec-engine failed.
Comprent motorsport replaced the sealed Élan Power Products engine with an identical sealed spec-unit, under the watch of an Élan representative before Round 9 and Drewer was given a ‘hardship’ lap 1 hour prior to the race commencing to complete an ‘installation’ lap on the new engine.
After not questioning Drewer or the team regarding the engine change prior to taking his starting position for the race, race officials incorrectly black-flagged Drewer during the first green flag lap of racing after the first full-course yellow and restart.
It must be noted that Comprent Motor Sport, its team members and driver Tom Drewer did in no way breach any rules or regulations.
Complying with race control, Comprent Motor Sport instructed Drewer to pit on that lap for the incorrectly applied stop and go penalty. Drewer, who was running 6th at the time of being issued the black flag rejoined the track as the last placed runner. Before completing one full lap of the circuit at full pace the race was again placed under full-course yellow and the race remained under full-course yellow until the chequered flag was displayed. Drewer was classified as finishing in 15th position, 14th in class.
As a result Drewer did not have the opportunity to complete a full ‘flying-lap’ to set his qualifying position for race 2 of the weekend, Round 10. Drewer started race 2 in 15th position and fought hard to move up to finish in 8th position.
Kevin Kloepfer, Team Owner, Comprent Motor Sport:
“I’m extremely disappointed with what happened, for both my team and our driver Tom Drewer. We did nothing wrong, the team didn’t break any rules or regulations.”
Tom Drewer, Driver, Car #1, Ubantu Resort / Daily Planet Racing:
“I have been denied of two likely top six finishes and valuable Championship points. It will likely effect my final Championship position. I am very disappointed, particularly for all my sponsors, including Ubantu Resort, and my supporters, fans, friends and family both here in America and back home in Australia who give up so much to allow me to race.
But I have already put this behind me and I’m just looking forward to getting on with it. I live to race and love and respect the sport. I love racing here in America. I just hope my backers will see fit to continue given this adversity.”
Prior to the Road America weekend Drewer sat in 5th position in the 2009 Lites 1 Championship standings, only 4 points behind 4th placed Comprent teammate Jonathan Gore. Drewer is the reigning 2008 IMSA Lites 2 Drivers’ Champion. A copy of the corrected time sheet with the notation for the incorrect issuing of the black flag is included with this release.
Article appearing in The Advertiser newspaper (Adelaide, Australia) on August 15, 2009. "Tom Drewer takes on the Road America race circuit in Wisconsin this weekend carrying new lead sponsorship on his Panoz Elan car..."
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A change of sponsor and a change to his preparation regime have resulted in Australian Le Mans hopeful, Tom Drewer feeling more positive than ever heading into this weekend’s Road America Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase featuring the American Le Mans Series (August 13-16, USA).
His new sponsor is Ubantu, a South-East Asian resort that will feature a full racing circuit.
In his quest to be Australia’s next Le Mans Series and 24 Hour starter, the twenty four year old from Adelaide, South Australia (venue of the ALMS Race of a Thousand Years, New Year’s Eve 1999-2000), has also teamed up with Health Defence and fitness trainer Gary Daniels.
“I’m more determined than ever to reach the top. Over the last year I have received a lot of recognition from Australia’s motor racing press, and while some would consider that pressure, it fuels me to succeed.”...
Australia’s AutoAction magazine has named Tom ‘Best Overseas Rookie’ in their annual awards while prestigious Wheels magazine has put Tom in their ‘Hot Half Dozen Watch List’ for 2009. Recently AutoAction magazine’s Cartoonist John 'Stonie' Stoneham pencilled in Drewer as one of Australia’s future Le Mans winners in a cartoon.
“2009 has been rather tough as I expected, even after winning the 2008 IMSA Lites 2 Championship. I’m on a very limited budget, with no testing; I have stepped up to Lites 1 which means a different car and new circuits again, like Road America.
But I proved I had the pace at New Jersey, which I hadn’t seen before and I’m looking forward to racing on what I’ve been told is one of America’s premier road racing venues.”
Drewer took pole position for Race 2 of the New Jersey Round of the 2009 IMSA Lites Championship presented by Frisby Performance Tire with the fastest Lites 1 lap of the entire weekend.
“I’m always looking to improve as a driver and for quite some time I have been trying to find the right fitness adviser to ready myself for the next step, either ALMS prototypes or GT2, or maybe GrandAm.
I was approached by Gary Daniels of Health Defence, and he has devised a specific program taking into account the specific anatomical demands of a racing driver based on his background in professional cycling, martial arts and boxing.
He has been pushing me really hard at the gym and I can already feel the results. I think his unique background will really give me an edge - he has certainly got some demon tweaks that, I believe, no one else has.
We are also working on diet and mental strategies, and I have also recently taken up yoga. I must say I feel more positive and focused than ever heading into this weekend.”
The positive energy of change has also rubbed off elsewhere. Drewer’s new sponsor on the car for the remainder of the season is Ubantu Resort. Long time supporter John Trimble, and the Daily Planet will stay on board as a personal sponsor.
Ubantu Resort is a fully integrated major residential and hotel development in South East Asia on a subtropical island that has had minimal western influence, with a climate similar to Bali and Phuket. The self-sustaining, socially and environmentally responsible facility will work with, and benefit, the local community and will feature 5 international hotels, a super-yacht harbour and a unique motor racing circuit.
Drewer is optimistic that with these changes, will come a change in luck for the remainder of the season.
“We have made a very strong progression throughout the season, but on numerous occasions I have been robbed of my first Lites 1 podium or victory. This weekend at Road America I’m hoping to change all that.”
The long high-speed 4 mile (6.43km), 14 turn Road America circuit located at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin is one of the fastest on the IMSA Lites calendar with Drewer expecting to exceed 155mph (250km/h) at least three times per lap.
Drewer’s first ever outing on the circuit will be for first Practice on Thursday, August 13. Race 1 will be held on Saturday, August 15 and Race 2 on Sunday, August 16.
Article appearing in Australia's Auto Action magazine. "Racing overseas can be a steep learning curve for young Aussie racers trying to make it around the world. In a way it's just like school, readying them for what lies ahead. So just like school Auto Action has awarded each a mid-year grade to let them and you know just how they're going..."
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