Promising young Australian racer Thomas Randle will embark on a fresh challenge in 2017 after announcing plans to join the British LMP3 Cup Championship.
Randle will contest the six-round Championship with Douglas Motorsport which ran the Melbourne-born driver in British Formula 3 last season.
The 20-year-old has garnered a wealth of experience internationally in a wide range of machinery over the last 12 months.
“2016 was an amazing year and I was lucky enough to drive 13 different racing cars, ranging from Formula Ford to Formula 3, Formula V8 3.5 and V8 Supercar, and on many great overseas tracks that I had never seen before,” Randle said.
Randle tested the Ligier JSP3 LMP3 car on a number of occasions before returning home ahead of contesting the 2017 Toyota Racing Series in starting at Ruapuna, Christchurch, this weekend.
At the completion of the rapid-fire TRS program which runs for five consecutive weekends, Randle will return to England in late February to continue testing for the up and coming UK racing season.
“This is a new chapter for me in my career and to be classified as a pro driver means a great deal to me,” Randle continued.
“It has always been a dream of mine to be a professional driver in Europe, and I can’t thank Mike Newbould and Douglas Motorsport enough for offering me this incredible opportunity.
“I would also like to thank Rusty French and Skye Sands for coming onboard and supporting me in 2017.
“The Ligier LMP3 machine is a very fast racing car and there is a clear succession pathway towards making it all the way up to LMP1 if I can do a commendable job, which I certainly aim to do.
“I think that the newly created LMP3 Cup will be a great championship in the UK, with highly regarded teams such as United Autosport (2016 ELMS Champions) and Graff racing competing.
“Ideally, Mike and I would also like to compete in a few European Le Mans Rounds this year, before potentially embarking on full ELMS season in 2018.”
Having recently been sanctioned by the ACO, the British LMP3 Cup Championship will offer a prize of real significance, with the winner receiving a complimentary entry into the 2018 Michelin Le Mans Cup.
The prize includes six rounds across Europe, including the prestigious Road to Le Mans event, which takes place just hours before the Le Mans 24 Hour race commences.
2017 British LMP3 Cup Championship schedule:
Round 1: April 22-23 Donington Park (National Circuit)
Round 2: May 20-21 Brands Hatch (Grand Prix Circuit)
Round 3: June 9-11 Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)
Round 4: July 1-2 Silverstone (Grand Prix Circuit)
Round 5: August 12-13 Snetterton (300)
Round 6: Sept 16-17 Donington Park (Grand Prix Circuit)