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Apr 28, 2015

LEANNE TANDER CONFIRMS NATIONAL FFORD RETURN

LEANNE TANDER has confirmed her return to the pointy end of the Australian Formula Ford Series via her blog, The Racing Mum.

After an absence of 15 years, Tander will contest selected rounds of the series in her recently purchased Mygale chassis, marking a return to the championship in which she rocketed to stardom following her debut in the late 1990s.

After finishing 7th in the championship in 1999, Leanne won two races en-route to third in the 2000 championship behind eventual champion Luke Youlden and Rick Kelly.

Following several recent seasons of part-time competition in and around the birth of her children while driving an older 1994-spec Kent-powered car, the national series return marks something of a full-circle journey for the Melbourne-based driver.

“Given the success I have enjoyed in my Kent car of late, it might seem strange that I would purchase a car that is unknown to me and will cause me to compete directly against drivers young enough to be my children (Literally. I’m not even exaggerating. It’s insane how old I feel at a driver’s briefing!). But here’s the thing – I’m no Lady Driver,” she wrote.

“Yes, I’ve been really enjoying racing my older Kent car.  The driving and racing has been quite stress-free for me and a great way to ease back into it. Garth has also enjoyed tinkering with my car, so much so that he has made it arguably the best Kent powered Formula Ford in the country!

“..the problem now is that I have reached a point where I need more of a challenge.  I could have continued racing my Kent, collecting trophies and having a great time, but my racing has always been about more than that.”

Tander’s return to the national scene comes at a time of transition for the Formula Ford ranks, an host of young drivers competing at the pointy end of a championship that witnessed three different winners from three races at the opening round at Sandown in March – two of them scoring their first ever national victories.

Should she return to the series at Phillip Island next month it will be something of a welcome return to national Formula Ford competition for the now mother-of-two: the circuit was the scene of a double victory in the opening round of the 2000 championship - and she also won multiple Formula 3 races the venue, competing at Shannons Nationals rounds.

“That’s why, at the ripe old age of 34, I’m choosing to make things a bit more difficult for myself rather than slowing down and taking it easy,” Tander wrote.

“I want to keep challenging myself and, while categories such as Carrera Cup or Supercars may attract the absolute best drivers in the country, they also attract the highest price tags! These Formula Ford kids against whom I will be racing may be just that at the moment – kids – but they are super fast and they race hard.”

Round two of the Australian Formula Ford series will include a three races across the May 22-24 weekend, with all the action to be streamed live via thenationals.com.au and the MotorsportsTV app for Android and iPhone.

Read more of Leanne's blog at www.theracingmum.com now!