LEANNE TANDER TO MAKE FULL-TIME RACING COMEBACK
Leanne Tander will return to the cockpit in next weekend's penultimate round of the Australian Formula 3 Championship at Eastern Creek in support of the A1 Grand Prix of Nations.
It's the beginning of a comeback to full-time top-level competition for Australia's best-credentialed female circuit racer.
The 25-year-old has focused mainly on her studies and work for the past few seasons since first appearing on the racing scene in Formula Ford and then V8 Supercars.
Tander, who has a degree in Commerce, is fully focused on trying to make motor racing a full-time career so much so that she will finish her current employment at a Melbourne accountancy firm at the end of November to devote her full energies to her 2006 plans.
Along with husband Garth, who drives for the HSV Dealer Team in the V8 Supercar Championship Series, Tander has purchased a 2004-model Dallara chassis with Opel-Speiss power for next year's national series.
"I've always loved my motor racing but for quite some time it has been on the backburner while study and work has taken the majority of my time," said Tander, nee Ferrier, who married her racing husband 12 months ago.
"Now I'm going to get stuck back into things and try and win the Gold Star in Formula 3 next year. We're still working on the funding for next year's series but we've got a start on it and purchased as current a model as is possible for the Australian series.
"I'm really excited to be able to sink my teeth into the project. Garth and I will run the car from our home garage in Melbourne. I used to do a fair bit of the work on my Formula Fords but I might be a little rusty in the beginning with the F3!
"The car I'm driving this weekend at Eastern Creek is an older model car with a five-speed H-pattern gearbox rather than the latest model six-speed sequential system. So I'm aiming at holding onto the lead pack and trying to finish in the top five. I think that would be a good result."
Tander will drive a 2001-model Dallara with Alfa Romeo power for Piccola Scuderia Corse in this weekend's event. She raced the car in a one-off effort at Phillip Island earlier in the year, taking a pair of fifth-place finishes in her Formula 3 debut.
Tander will then drive her own recently purchased car in the series finale - also to be held at Eastern Creek - on December 3-4. Her V8 ace husband will act as crew chief for the Formula 3 assault and the duo is in the process of sponsor hunting for Tander's comeback to full-time competition.
The last female to race in V8 Supercars, Tander drove for Garry Rogers Motorsport in 2001. She finished fifth in the Konica V8 Supercar Series and finished 12th in that year's Queensland 500 to easily be the category's most successful female driver.
She has since been racing a flame-spitting Mazda RX7 rotary in the Improved Production category to keep her hand in during recent seasons in addition to driving a Toyota Corolla Sportivo to third in last year's Australian Production Car Championship.
Practice for this weekend's round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship begins on Friday at Eastern Creek with qualifying on Saturday and two races on Sunday.