Though only 22, north coast engineer Thomas Rann has been living the dream as part of the Ford V8 Supercar team at the Bathurst 1000 and the Gold Coast 600.
‘Words can’t describe the feeling of being part of the winning team especially at Bathurst, the holy grail of motorcar racing,’ says Tom.
‘Being at the podium, deafened by the chant of the crowd and sprayed by the winner’s champagne are moments my teammates have spent years working towards. For me this experience has been fast-tracked and is mind blowing.’
Just a year ago Tom was studying Automotive Mechanical Technology at Murwillumbah TAFE and working as an apprentice for Chris Albertini Automotive in Lismore.
But life changed when he applied for the prestigious Telstra Racing Recruit Series.
This nationwide competition offers one talented apprentice the opportunity to join the Ford Performance Racing Team, while completing the fourth and final year of their apprenticeship.
That apprentice turned out to be Tom, though not without considerable effort to match his obvious talent.
Despite fierce competition, Tom came fourth in the National Worldskills competition in August 2012.
His mechanical aptitude, enthusiasm and ability to work within a team saw him achieve his dream.
‘To step into a team with so much credibility in Australia is a dream. All my hard work throughout my apprenticeship and at TAFE had finally paid off.’
Tom’s role on the track is in driver assistance and tyre maintenance, which are both high-pressure positions that involve liaising with engineers to initiate calculated adjustments which enhance the speed of the car.
He returns to the Ford factory headquarters in Melbourne this week for important preparations ahead of the final challenges of Phillip Island 360 and then the Sydney 500. ‘The championship is coming down to the wire with only 121 points separating first from fourth,’ says Tom.
Tom is an incredibly passionate, determined and disciplined 22-year-old, who sees his future as promising.
The new automotive department at Kingscliff TAFE campus is scheduled for completion in March 2014, so any other budding Toms out there might want to contact the department on 02 6672 0828.