Randle’s big opportunity in 2022 quest

Thomas Randle aboard the Castrol Mustang at a Winton test day

Thomas Randle is not feeling pressure to overdeliver this weekend when he joins the Repco Supercars Championship grid for the first of three wildcard outings in 2021.

Randle has long been touted as a fine talent and came good last year by clinching the Super2 Series title with MW Motorsport.

He’d already cemented himself as a Supercars podium finisher – joining Lee Holdsworth in taking third at the 2019 Sandown 500 – but a main game seat has continued to elude him.

Randle, somewhat ironically, was in line to replace Holdsworth at Tickford Racing this year, only for the Ford team to be unsuccessful in securing a fourth Racing Entitlements Contract, meaning both missed out.

Holdsworth subsequently headed to the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series and accepted a plum Supercars co-drive alongside Chaz Mostert at Walkinshaw Andretti United, while Randle hung around, being announced on a multi-year Tickford contract.

His 2021 motorsport activities include the three solo wildcards – also comprising the Darwin and Perth rounds – a co-drive with either James Courtney or James Le Brocq, his recent VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship campaign, and the upcoming National Sports Sedans Series.

The OTR SuperSprint at The Bend Motorsport Park this weekend represents the second solo start of his Supercars Championship career, nearly two years after his wildcard debut at the same circuit.

Randle will drive the #55 Castrol Tickford Mustang in a 26-car field, with Kurt Kostecki also featuring as a wildcard for WAU.

Tickford has again expressed its interest in acquiring a fourth REC for 2022, giving Randle hope of finally graduating to the main game.

Thomas Randle

He’s not using his wildcards as an audition, however, seemingly content the team already knows what he’s capable of. Lessons and mileage are instead the priority, according to the 25-year-old.

“The team hasn’t put too much pressure on me, to be honest,” he told Speedcafe.com.

“It sounds so clichéd but I really just want to do the best job I can, and as long as I’m performing at my best and I can try to work with my engineer [Raymond Lau] and the team to extract the most out of the car, then that’s all I can really ask for.

“They’ve shown they have got quite competitive cars, I mean Cam [Waters] has three pole positions this year and unfortunately no race wins, but he has been very close.”

Randle’s Mustang in fact is the very car he and Holdsworth drove to the Sandown podium some 18 months ago.

While he’s not shooting quite that high on this occasion, Tickford’s proven 2021 pace does give him optimism that reasonable results will be achievable.

“I certainly want to capitalise on the machinery that I have got,” Randle added.

“We had a very positive test day at Winton … I’m trying not to put any pressure on myself but we’ve all got our little quiet super-goals that we want to achieve.

“If I could get a top 10 in that, that would be ace.

“We’ll just see what happens. It is, as we all know, one of the toughest championships in the world.”

Opening practice for Supercars at the OTR SuperSprint will start at 08:45 local time (09:15 AEST) tomorrow.

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