TEAM TOM: F3 NEWCOMER TOM TWEEDIE GETS THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS AHEAD OF 2009 DEBUT SECOND GENERATION driver Tom Tweedie looks to have the right ingredients in the mix ahead of his Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship debut at the Clipsal 500...
TEAM TOM: F3 NEWCOMER TOM TWEEDIE GETS THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS AHEAD OF 2009 DEBUT
SECOND GENERATION driver Tom Tweedie looks to have the right ingredients in the mix ahead of his Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship debut at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide this March.
Not only does he have a car that, in the hands of Chris Alajajian, has smashed lap records and won multiple races around Australia - but he has one of the very best engineers and team managers at his side helping him work his way into the world of wing's and slicks racing.
It's all part of a long-term plan that the son of well-known racing identity Bob Tweedie hopes will take him to the very top of the sport.
RALT Australia boss Graham Watson will helm the Tweedie campaign this season, allowing the 20-year old from the Sydney Suburb of Hunters Hill to draw on a wealth of information to help him prepare for his F3 debut.
Former Gold Star winners like Will Power, Scott Dixon and others have all pushed on to international stardom after learning under the auspices of Watson and the RALT crew.
"My Dad (Bob) and I have known Graham for 20 years. He helped Dad out when he was racing and we've been in touch ever since. He's a great asset to have," Tweedie said.
"He has so much experience and success from working with guys like Neil McFadyen and Scott Dixon. It's nice to have that experience and he has just been a massive support to us so far."
Tweedie makes the step up to Formula 3 this season after several seasons behind the wheel of Formula Fords - both at a state championship level and in historic competition - around Australia.
Tweedie finished second in last years' New South Wales Formula Ford 1600 championship and already has several test days under his belt in this years' F3 pre-season.
"Testing has been going very well," He says. "Everything seems to be going to plan. It's a big step up from Formula Ford because these cars are so quick - and you have to adapt to the aerodynamics which is where a lot of the speed comes from. But I'm really enjoying it and can't wait for the first round."
Whilst Tweedie has the National Class title in his sights, the 20-year-old says that he has one eye on the Gold-Star contesting F307 chassis.
"On a couple of tracks this year we might struggle against the extra aero performance the F307 cars have, but there are quite a few where we should be able to get up amongst them. Guys like Tim Macrow proved that it is possible last season," he said.
"Our main aim is to win the National Class this season and then try to win the Gold Star in 2010 - but I'd love to give some of the F307s a hurry up where I can."
The car he hopes to be racing towards the pointy end of the grid has also received a stunning livery - reminiscent of the scheme carried by at least two Aussies currently racing internationally.
"The (Red Bull) colours were sort of a coincidence," Tweedie grinned. "We had a historic Lola car that was blue with the same yellow nose. It always looked good and we decided to do the F3 car the same way.
"Painting the car like this has already had a lot of comment which is what we were after! The car looks great and really stands out on the track, which is great for TV.
"We had to add the red Kangaroo to the nose just to finish it off!"
TEAM TOM: MEMBERSHIP CONCEPT TO BOTH RAISE PROFILE AND FUNDS FOR TWEEDIE'S RACING
Whilst his race craft and pace speak for themselves, Tom Tweedie has got creative when it comes to helping fund his racing ventures.
The driver has established 'Team Tom', both a marketing brand and an avenue for people to contribute his racing whilst reaping benefits like unparalleled access into the team, and an end of season competition that includes flights and passes to the final round, at Sandown, this year.
"Team Tom is a membership-bases supporters club," he explained.
"It's a way to get more people involved with what I'm doing this year and to raise some funds to help cover some of the smaller expenses like accommodation and airfares - it all helps."
Team Tom members will receive constant updates throughout the season, plus a Team Tom Cap - but the biggest reward of all is an invite to the final round in Melbourne should the lucky member win the end-of-year draw. That member will receive two tickets to Sandown, plus a choice of flights or other rewards. Full details can be found on the drivers website; www.tomtweedie.com.
"A little bit here and there all helps," added Tweedie. "The Team Tom program also gives us a brand name that we can push to help raise my profile in the sport as I aim to make it as far as I can."
The formula 3 Australian Drives championship begins at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide between March 19 - 22.