Final drivers announced for Audi TCR drive

Leanne Tander named to drive final Audi RS 3 LMS this weekend.

Leanne Tander will join husband Garth and young Victorian, Hamish Ribarits, at Phillip Island this weekend in a three car Audi assault on Round 2 of the Carsales TCR Australia Series.

7 June, 2019

Three Audi RS 3 LMS race cars will line up this weekend to contest Round 2 of the TCR Australian Series

When the 18 strong TCR field line up at Phillip Island this weekend, there will be three Audi RS 3 LMS cars and two members of the Tander family in the mix. Leanne Tander has been named as the final driver in the three car Audi Sport customer racing team, with 19-year-old, Hamish Ribarits rounding out the trio driving the #22 Audi which debuted in Sydney in Round 1.

Leanne Tander is no stranger to top level motorsport, having started out in karts before going on to stamp her authority over a number of categories on the way to winning the prestigious Australian Formula Ford Championship (2016). She has driver V8 supercars including two Bathurst 100 starts and has built an enviable reputation both as a race driver and a high-performance instructor.

Last year Leanne got behind the wheel of a TCR car at the official Australian launch of the series, so she has already had a taste of what the 2.0-litre turbo rockets can do, but like husband Garth, she is keen to get plenty more laps under her belt in the practice sessions today ahead of the weekend’s racing.

“I’ve been hopeful of some sort of drive in the TCR Australia Series,” Leanne Tander says. “I’m really excited about driving it at Phillip Island. I’ve done plenty of laps around there in a wide range of categories, but this is a different type of car to what I’m used to.”

Leanne’s inclusion in the field brings the number of female drivers to four, a ratio Tander says is ‘a huge step forward and a big tick for TCR’.

“It is fantastic to be sharing the track with three other female racers too,” she says. “I’ve never raced at this high level in the sport with so many girls in the same race … that’s a pretty good ratio, given you generally only ever have one in the field.”

Rounding out the three-pronged Audi attack this weekend is young Victorian driver, Hamish Ribarits, who will drive the #22 car that Melbourne Performance Centre (MPC) debuted at Sydney Motorsport Park with Dutch driver, Rik Breukers behind the wheel.

Despite his age, Ribarits has already amassed an impressive list of motorsport achievements, a former karting champion – like both Tanders – and currently leading the Super3 Supercars Series.

Like teammate Garth Tander, Ribarits has never driven a front-wheel drive race car before and admits he has a lot to learn in a short time, but is looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s going to be completely different to what I’m used to,” says Ribarits.

“But I’ll just look to learn and improve as the weekend goes on and gain experience in a completely different style of car.”

“Having Garth Tander as a teammate is going to be very beneficial for me. The amount of years that he has been racing, I’ll be able to pick up from him and use him as a benchmark.”

All three cars are prepared by Melbourne Performance Centre which will also be looking after the Audi R8 LMS cars taking part in the Australian GT Championship as part of the Phillip Island race card this weekend.

MPC only took delivery of the two new Audi RS 3 LMS cars on Tuesday night, with MPC Managing Director and his team pulling out all stops to have them ready for the weekend.

There will be two practice sessions at Phillip Island today to give the drivers a chance to familiarise themselves with the cars, before qualifying on Saturday morning and race 1 of the round on Saturday afternoon. A further two races will following on Sunday with SBS covering all of the live action over the weekend.

This round of the new series will see 18 cars line up on the grid