See article written by Sam Tickell.
"When one thinks about Australian Champion drivers trying to make it overseas, you think of Mark Webber, Casey Stoner, David Brabham and soon you will be thinking of Adelaide native, Tom Drewer.
Drewer burst onto the international scene in 2008 when he left his career as an up-and-coming advertising artist to chase his dream of becoming a professional racecar driver – a sportscar driver at that.
He races with success in Australia before his move to the USA, winning the Thundersports title in a West WR1000 and proving handy in saloon car races..."
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“I’ve actually never been to that circuit,” said Drewer as he answered the phone call from Steve Loudin about coaching him around the Daytona International Speedway road course.
But that’s been typical for Australia’s Tom Drewer who has only been racing in America for two years. In 2008 every circuit he ventured to with the American Le Mans Series’ IMSA Lites category was brand new to the young up and coming Aussie, and this year Drewer had another two new circuits to deal with.
“I love racing here in America. They’re not just new circuits to me. They’re the circuits I’ve always dreamed of racing at; Sebring, Laguna Seca, Road Atlanta, and I won and got track records at all of them last year. This year I put the Lites 1 on pole with the fastest lap of the weekend at New Jersey, first time there.
So I didn’t mind taking on the challenge to learn Daytona, and make sure Steve got the most out of his weekend. The biggest Challenge was I wouldn’t actually ever be driving the track. The closest I got was sitting in the passenger seat.”
But that didn’t seem to sway Drewer who coached Steve Loudin and his gold ‘007 Bond’ Tricel Honeycomb Dodge Viper Competition Coupe to all three victories, in class, during the event...
“It was fantastic to work with Steve and get the most out of him and the 007 Viper around probably the most famous circuit in North America.
I tell you, I think everyone says the same four-letter word when you drive out of the tunnel into the infield of Daytona for the first time. The banking is amazingly steep. I have a newfound respect for those NASCAR boys. Those turns are rather bumpy and a lot narrower than they look on TV.
Steve did a tremendous job. I have a few procedures I like to do, to learn a new circuit and Steve used those to quickly find the limit without over stepping it, which is pretty important given the walls are right there.
He pushed as hard as he could, and never gave up, and kept reeling off the lap-times.
I must also thank Steve's car owner, his wife Kit, for entertaining my girlfriend Sarah over the weekend.
It was another very successful weekend for the NARRA / Viper Days organisation, a fantastic result for Steve, and it gave me great insight to Daytona for when I finally get to pound-around-it in anger.”
Australian racing driver Tom Drewer has his sights firmly set on a prototype drive for 2010 after testing the V8 powered Courage Oreca LMP Challenge car that will be competing in the American Le Mans Series next year.
Drewer is in discussions with his current team, Comprent Motor Sports about driving a Challenge car next year. However, the determined and ambitious Drewer has also confirmed he has been approached by multiple ALMS Prototype teams too.
“I’ve been really busy since Petit Le Mans. The following day I was invited to test the new LMP Challenge car, and the following week two LMP1 teams contacted me about the 2010 season after seeing me race during the Petit week. Since then I have been to Monterey for discussions with multiple other ALMS teams and I’ve just got back from a very serious meeting with one of those teams.
I have some fantastic backers from Australia, including John Trimble and Ubantu Resort, and I’m currently seeking American partners solidify a prototype assault on the 2010 ALMS season. Offers of top-level drives mean I now really have something to offer those sponsors with the glamour, prestige and massive television exposure of the American Le Mans Series throughout the USA and the rest of the world.
The great thing is now high-level teams are calling me, rather than the other way around.”
Following his test in the LMPC car Drewer feels he is ready to make transition to full-sized prototypes after driving in the IMSA Lites feeder category for the past two years.
“Finally getting the chance to drive a big prototype was fantastic. I felt extremely comfortable in it. It’s really just like a big (IMSA) Lites 1 car. It was quite similar to my Ubantu Resort Élan DP-02 in terms of how it responded and reacted, even the grip versus power. Obviously it just had much, much more of both.
In some ways it was actually easier to drive. I’m used to using a fair bit of muscle to turn the Élan DP-02 in, particularly as we generally run a reasonable amount of caster to cure bump-steer. The LMPC was very light on the steering and very direct. It was a case of telling myself to slow my hands down in the high-speed corners.
But where the LMPC just has it all over the Lites 1 car is the Carbon-Carbon brakes, and the power and noise of the big Corvette sourced V8. Every lap into turn 10a at Road Atlanta I felt I could brake later and later. The stopping power is awesome, and there is just nothing like the sound of a V8.
I really think the ALMS is on a winner with the LMPC. Everyone I speak to in racing always reminisces about the good old Can-Am days. Big loud V8s in beautiful, sleek racing cars. They have captured this with the LMPC. I think the American public will love them, and they’ll certainly relate to the powerplant. I can’t wait to get back in one or an out-right LMP car.
I’m determined to become Australia’s next Le Mans winner. The next David Brabham. I feel the last two years has prepared me well for an LMP or LMPC assault next year. I’m ready.”
Drewer won the 2008 IMSA Lites 2 Championship in his first year of competition in North America. He won ten from twelve races, all at circuits he had never driven on. This led to Australia’s AutoAction magazine proclaiming Drewer the ‘Best Overseas Rookie’ for 2008 and Wheels Magazine putting Drewer in their ‘Hot Half-Dozen Watchlist’.
Drewer’s performance in the faster Lites 1 category this year also captured the attention of Australia’s motor racing press. World famous cartoonist John ‘Stonie’ Stoneham penciling Drewer in as a future Le Mans 24 Hour winner in one of his cartoons after Drewer qualified on pole for the New Jersey round of the championship. Drewer finished his 2009 IMSA Lites campaign on a high, taking a podium (2nd place) for the second year in a row during the Petit Le Mans event held last month at Road Atlanta.
See Article written by Sam Tickell. "There has been buzz around the internet about the LMPC class that will be introduced in the ALMS in 2010. As part of a series of articles that we will be bringing you on Australian driver, Tom Drewer, we were able to get the young Australian driver’s take on these new cars.
Having race in IMSA Lites 1 in 2009 and winning the Championship in IMSA Lites 2 in 2008, Drewer certainly has a pedigree in feeder sports car series.
On the LMPC car, Drewer said “It really feels just like a big Lites 1 car! I was actually surprised how similar it was to the Élan DP-02 in terms of how it responded and reacted, and the grip vs power...”
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Tom Drewer was interviewed by Jeremy Shaw today for the American Le Mans Series 'Radio Le Mans' during warm-up for the Monterey Sports Car Championship at Laguna Seca.
Drewer discussed his prospects for next year saying he's "pounding a lot of pavement this weekend. I've been taking to a couple of prototype team owners about P1 and P2, but I'm also looking at the new (ALMS Prototype) Challenge class. I was lucky enough to be invited to test the car the other day and it's fantastic. To me it really encapsulates the old CAN-AM days- a big beautiful sounding V8 in a beautiful looking sportscar."