Young stars sample Formula Thunder 5000 car at Phillip Island

Three of Australia’s best young open-wheeler racecar drivers have sampled the power of the prototype FT5000 race car, lapping Phillip Island raceway yesterday.

Young stars sample Formula Thunder 5000 car at Phillip Island
Tim Macrow runs through the MoTeC display with Anton De Pasquale as he prepares for his first run in the FT5000 car
Formula Thunder 5000 testing
John Martin
Formula Thunder 5000 testing
Tim Macrow tests the Formula Thunder 5000
Thomas Randle

John Martin, Anton De Pasquale and Thomas Randle joined regular test driver Tim Macrow to put further development and mechanical verification miles on the prototype car, around the 12-turn, 2.76-mile course.

Martin, who has A1GP and Superleague starts under his belt, said: “Australia has long needed a serious, exciting open-wheeler series, so this is a great concept.

“There’s still some development to do at this early stage, but that’s just a matter of some more miles and testing, to get an even better balance.

The 2014 Formula Renault 1.6 NEC champion De Pasqaule, for whom the FT5000 car was the fastest he’d driven, commented: “That’s cool. Very fast. It’s a serious piece of kit.”

Former Formula Ford/F4 front runner (and recent Formula Renault 3.5 racer) Randle, who tested with the Nissan Supercar team the day before, was limited to a single run later in the day, but echoed the feedback from the other pair.

Chris Lambden, FT5000 boss, described Martin, De Pasquale and Randle as “a very impressive trio. I’d be delighted if any of them was able to be part of FT5000 next summer.

“The feedback was very consistent and interesting – the car, with its lower downforce, 5-liter V8 spec is certainly different from most things they’d driven recently. So it was a bit of a challenge.

“But their feedback complemented that of regular test driver Tim [Macrow] and thus helps the progress of developing the car and its basic setup and balance.

“The really encouraging thing is that the car has now racked up over 750km [466 miles] without any mechanical issues – it’s even got the original brake pads in – which is going a long way toward confirming the level of mechanical strength, and thus realistic running budget, we’ve been expecting from the car.”

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