Jun 6, 2014
TANDERS CAREER TO COME FULL CIRCLE AT WINTON
NEARLY FOURTEEN years since a stunning 2000 Australian Formula Ford Championship campaign pushed her into the national motorsport spotlight, Leanne Tander is ready to go back to where it all began next week at the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals.
Tander will join a strong field for the second round of the Australian Formula Ford Series, competing alongside a packed program at Winton Motor Raceway near Benalla, in Victoria’s North.
Its remarkable how things have come full circle for the former V8 Supercar, Formula 3 and Formula Ford frontrunner – so much so that next weekend she will even be considered a rookie.
“It makes me feel young!” she said.
“I’m only contesting two rounds this year so that means I’m classed as a rookie.. and I don’t mind that at all!”
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The now mother-of-two will race the same car she drove to third in the 2000 Australian Formula Ford Championship and it’s enjoyment that is driving a return to her racing origins.
“I’m really enjoying it,” Tander said. “It’s why I have come back into Formula Ford. After I had the kids I did a race here and there but it takes a lot of effort to race when you have kids – you need to be very organised and I wasn’t willing to get back into it, and put all the work in, unless I really loved it.
“It’s the same car that I raced in 2000. We got the car back and Garth (Tander) wanted to go for a test to make sure the car was running well. After that we had planned to do it up to the way it was but we went testing and it put this massive smile on my face. It was heaps of fun and it’s gone from there.
“Garth rebuilt the car completely and it’s mint – it’s better than it has ever been.”
This years’ Formula Ford series allows the 1600cc Kent-powered cars back onto the grid and, with Tander’s No. 42 Fleetcare Stealth Van Diemen using the ‘old school’ non fuel-injected engine, a class victory is in her sights next weekend.
She won the Kent battle at a Victorian state championship round at Phillip Island recently.
“If the series was still in the old format, we wouldn’t be running but now they are allowing the Kent engined cars to run again, it makes sense.
“I won the Kent class at Phillip Island and was quicker than some of the (more powerful) duratec-powered cars. They are a good target and although the level might be a bit higher in the national series, it gives me something to chase. If I can get on the back of them, it would be good.”
And in the same way that her year 2000 campaign helped push her into a V8 Supercar Development Series drive with Garry Rogers Motorsport, Tander will once again look to use the national Formula Fords as a way of getting race ready ahead of a potential return to ‘something more serious’ next year.
“It’s a great way for me to get back into the groove and driving competitively, feeling the car and competing. I’m thinking about doing something a bit more serious next year so Formula Ford is a great way to redevelop my driving and get myself up to speed.”
Round two of the 2014 Australian Formula Ford Series will be a highlight amongst a busy program at the 3.0km Winton circuit on the June 13-15 weekend, a strong list of categories offering a bumper program.
The Kumho V8 Touring Cars are likely to be a headline act, a list of competitors lining up to challenge runaway round one winner, Ryan Simpson, and his ex-Craig Lowndes Ford Falcon.
Also on the bill will be round two of the Australian Sports Racer Series, the fourth round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Pirelli, Round two of the Kerrick Sports Sedans Series and the third hitout this year of the Dial Before You Dig Australian Super Six Touring Car Series.
The Porsche series will feature the second of three races within this years Jim Richards’ Endurance trophy, to be run on Saturday afternoon.