- Young Formula Ford racer ready for title challenge after impressive 2018 debut
After impressing the motorsport community with a stellar 2018 rookie season in car racing, Young’s Tom Sargent has his sights set upon challenging for the national Formula Ford Championship this year, starting with the opening round at Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend.
Following on from a standout career in karting, which started at his local Grenfell Kart Club, Sargent progressed to Formula Ford with CHE Racing last year, with the original plan to compete in the NSW State Championship along with some selected national rounds.
However, Sargent was immediately inside the top three and challenging for race victories at state events, prompting him to progress to the national series ahead of schedule.
The highlight of Sargent’s season was finishing second outright at the new Tailem Bend circuit in South Australia. He also claimed second in the NSW State Championship and eighth overall in the national points, even though he missed the first two rounds. With the learning year complete, the 17-year-old has his sights set on success.
“Last year was good for me to learn how to drive a race car with a manual gearbox on full-sized tracks,” Sargent said.
“I had a lot to pick up, but we kept improving and by the end of the year, I was consistently challenging for top-three results in the national rounds.
“Heading into 2019, my goal is to challenge for the championship – if I could win it in my second year, it would be a dream come true.
“It won’t be easy, because the standard of competition in Formula Ford is extremely high. Hunter McElrea, who won the championship last year, is now racing in America, and he finished on the podium in his debut race over there. That reflects very well on the quality of drivers here in Australia.”
The national Formula Ford competition will again consist of seven rounds in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland. Sargent said his decision to compete in national events last season will pay dividends.
“Because I did most of the national rounds last year, I was able to learn the tracks – this will make the process a lot easier this season,” he said.
“Sydney Motorsport Park is a track I’m very familiar with, so hopefully I can start the year on a positive note.”
Sargent welcomes back Tegra Australia, Sloanebuilt Trailers, Finlease, Inland Truck Centres and Independent Cement as sponsors for his 2019 campaign, while also welcoming DAF trucks Australia, Elders Insurance Young and Batsfruit as new partners.
This weekend’s opening Formula Ford round will consist of qualifying and Race 1 on Saturday, followed by Races 2 and 3 on Sunday.