Thomas Randle will return to Tickford on a multi-year deal for the 2021 Supercars season – however he will only be a Bathurst 1000 co-driver for at least the first year.
The Ford squad was working on a full-time main game seat for Randle next season, the preferred plan understood to have been running the Super2 champion alongside Cam Waters, Jack Le Brocq and James Courtney.
However that required finding a fourth Racing Entitlements Contract to underpin Randle’s entry, after Phil Munday sold the ex-23Red Racing licence to Brad Jones Racing.
The hunt to either buy or lease a fourth REC appears to have fallen flat, the team confirming that Randle has signed a multi-year deal – but will only be a Bathurst co-driver for 2021.
There could, however, still be wildcard appearances at other rounds next season, while the multi-year deal leaves the door open for a full-time promotion in 2022.
The deal marks a return for Randle, who spent two years as a Tickford driver in Super2 in 2018 and 2019.
He was also one of the team’s enduro drivers in 2019, finishing third at the Sandown 500 with Lee Holdsworth.
Randle left the squad at the end of the 2019 season, joining MW Motorsport for what proved to be a title-winning Super2 campaign this year.
His remarkable 2020 season also included being diagnosed with and treated for testicular cancer.
“Knowing I’ll be [at Tickford] for multiple years is fantastic,” said Randle, who has long been backed by Tickford part-owner Rusty French.
“It gives me a sense of security to do my best for the team. Having raced with Tickford before, I know the team environment and dynamic quite well, I know most of the guys and girls already, so that will put me a step ahead.
“I feel like I’ll be able to slot right in without missing a beat. I’m really looking forward to working with everyone on and off track to get the most out of myself and the whole team.”
Tickford CEO Tim Edwards welcomed Randle back to the Tickford fold.
“Thomas has impressed us in and out of the car since his first Super2 practice session all the way back in 2018 in Adelaide, so we’re thrilled to have him back for 2021,” Edwards said.
“It doesn’t take much to realise Tom’s one of the best up and coming drivers of his generation. He’s overcome some extraordinary challenges in 2020 which we’ve all followed closely, and when the opportunity to work together in 2021 arose we were all delighted to make it happen.
“Our team and our fans are elated to have him back in the fold, and we are very much looking forward to many more successes together in the future.”
Holdsworth, who spent the past two seasons at Tickford, is expected to miss out on a full-time ride next year as part of the re-shuffle.
More confirmations regarding the team’s 2021 programme are expected in the coming weeks.
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