High Hopes for Brandon Thomas Formula Renault 2000 debuts in Phoenix London, Ontario, April 7, 2004. -- The third season of the North America Formula Renault Pro series will get underway this weekend in Phoenix, Arizona. One of the busiest teams...
High Hopes for Brandon Thomas
Formula Renault 2000 debuts in Phoenix
London, Ontario, April 7, 2004. -- The third season of the North America Formula Renault Pro series will get underway this weekend in Phoenix, Arizona. One of the busiest teams in the first two seasons is heading to the International Raceway with a talented young driver who aims to gain valuable points in the 2004 13-race championship. Canadian Brandon Thomas entertains high hopes as he enters the maiden race. For this high potential newcomer to open wheel racing in North America, it will be a complete season although he brings European racing experience in Formula Renault 2000, as 'Rookie of the Year' during last season's championship.
"We have a strong trio of drivers, says team owner Bob Gelles in his Front Royal Virginia-based office, with Brazilian Gustavo Sondermann, American Michael Yager and Canadian Brandon Thomas. We are excited to have a young driver with huge potential like Brandon come to this series with a winning attitude. Our team has done its homework and the FR2000 cars have been checked thoroughly. Brandon and his crew approach Phoenix with nothing but victory in mind."
Thomas, the series surprise
The Canadian 21-year old Etobikote (Toronto) native gained Formula Renault experience in United Kingdom last year before coming back to Canada. Brandon was quick from lap one on a test day in Sebring. "Brandon is a very intelligent driver, continues Gelles again. He has the facility of understanding his car and passing on the information to the team. He will have to discover all the race tracks in the schedule, but I believe he will be a force in the series and will draw a lot of respect from fellow racers. Brandon will steer the #2 TenFore car."
Racing in Europe
Brandon Thomas grew up with a fascination for anything with four wheels. He started serious racing when he was 18, he was always quick on a race track. He traveled a lot to Asia and Europe where he started karting and entered several championships within the United Kingdom with a 125 cc Rotax Max machine. One season as top rookie in the British series was enough to convince him he was ready for the next step. As he explains, "I was making up for lost time, and I knew that if I was going to have a career as a racing driver I needed to move to single-seaters. I knew that Formula Renault UK was very challenging but I was ready and I knew it was now or never."
In Fall of 2002, Brandon tested for two days with the Italian Formula Renault team BVM Minardi Juniors at the Magione and Misano circuits and his driving was convincing. Knowing the U.K. Championship was the best in the world, hew passed on to a successful British team, Paston Racing Team, testing once more in Spain.
Full season in UK
Sponsored by Western Union Money Transfer and Premiere Group Consulting, Brandon entered the U.K. Championship : "Although I was intimidated at first, I kept my head down and kept working towards being a quicker driver." All season long, Brandon was able to commit to spectacular overtaking manoeuvres while bringing his car home every time.
By the final round at Oulton Park circuit, Brandon was in top form. In wet conditions, Brandon spun on the parade lap and started from the back of the grid, in 28th place. He reeled in many competitors to end up in 8th place, "I made a stupid mistake and it really set me on fire. If I had started from my original position, I could have easily been on the podium. It felt good to end the season on a high note, though." Brandon will undoubtedly be an extremely competitive contender in the North America Formula Renault 2004 series. "I plan to win this Championship."
The 2004 North America Formula Renault Pro series is sanctioned by Grand American Road Racing, FIA and Renault Sport. Racing with Gelles Racing, Brandon Thomas is sponsored by TenFore. You can visit web sites for Gelles Racing at www.gellesracing.com and Brandon Thomas at www.brandonthomsas.ca