Reigning Australian Formula Ford Champion Leanne Tander will take the wheel of the retro-styled Super5000 car for its public debut at Sandown this weekend.
Tander, wife of Supercars star Garth Tander, is an accomplished racer in her own right. She was a round winner in Australian Formula Ford back in the early 2000s, before a successful stint in the local Formula 3 series.
She returned to Formula Ford competition last year, becoming the first woman to win a national circuit racing title.
Tander has since joined Garth as part of the development driver line-up for the new Super5000 category, and had her first taste of the 1970s-styled open-wheeler at Mallala during the week.
She’s now set to be behind the wheel of the car when it break public cover at Sandown tomorrow, replacing Garth who was originally slated to drive during the demonstration run.
“I think people will enjoy the sight of it and it sounds good too, which I know is important to a lot of people,” said Tander.
“Garth had told me that it was fast, but I guess it’s not until you drive it and you put your foot down that you realise exactly how much power it had. It was a lot of fun, I really enjoyed it.
“With 650 horsepower Garth certainly took notice of it and so did I. It’s been a long time since I’ve driven anything with that much horsepower.
“I found I was able to get to pretty reasonable times once I adjusted to the car and everything. Its driveability is good, Mallala is quite a tight little track, so to manoeuvre the car around there wasn’t a problem.
“By keeping the aero down a bit, or to a minimum, I think it will promote good racing, which is what you want. It will be a fun category.”
The Super5000 concept is one half of a joint venture with the Formula Thunder 5000 programme. The FT5000 car is also at Sandown this weekend, but won’t be part of the on-track demonstration.
It’s yet to be determined how the final technical make-up of the proposed V8-powered open-wheeler category will look if it gets off the ground for next season.