14 February, 2011
Reigate-based sportscar racing driver Nick Padmore, and co-driver Jean-Lou Rihon, have put the finishing touches on a deal to launch campaigns in both the French V de V Championship and Speed Euroseries for 2011.
The pair will run for the Team TFT outfit this season, headed by Tony Pereira, but won't be able to get their hands on the new Norma M20 FC until next month. However with the Nogaro circuit right on the French team's doorstep, the team are confident that they can develop and prepare the car to make a good impression when the French V de V season kicks off at Jarama, Spain on 25th - 27th March.
Last season Padmore and Rihon were hit with a string of bad luck and disappointing results early on, but kept up with development on the car and were fighting for podiums in the last races. That form they are hoping will continue into this year, and they have every faith in their new team and Norma's all-new carbon tub machine.
Alongside contesting the full French V de V calendar, Team TFT will also be running Padmore and Rihon in selected rounds of the recently launched Speed Euroseries. The series has stepped up a gear this year and will be a feature support to the prestigious Le Mans Series at circuits throughout Europe, including two visits to the UK, at Silverstone and Donington Park.
The off-season always feels too long with everything winding down, but I've used the time to work very hard on my fitness with Pro Performance so I will start the new season fresh and in the best physical shape possible.
"I'm very pleased that Jean-Lou (Rihon) and I are continuing our pairing and we have everything in place for this season, so I see no reason why we shouldn't be strong. The Norma M20 FC is brand new for this year but we won't take delivery of it until the beginning of March, so time will be of the essence in our preparations for Jarama.
"Going with Team TFT was the logical step in taking our programme to the next level as they have a great deal of experience - especially with Norma and the cars' components - and the team being based at Nogaro will provide us with the perfect opportunity to test and develop the car.
"I must say a big thank you to Tim Mullis of Norma UK for running Jean-Lou and me for the past two seasons. He did a great job and I wish him all the best with his new role within RLR."
Padmore will also compete in selected races with his father Keith in their privately-owned 1965 Mini Cooper S, with the Silverstone Classic being a highlight on the calendar.