Sydney-based racing team, Volante Rosso Motorsport has signed rookie circuit racer, Alex Gardner from Queensland to its Radical SR3 team to begin his pathway towards an international racing career - and racing in the Le Mans 24 Hour.
Gardner is the first driver to sign onto the pathways program that has been devised by team owners, former Formula 1 engineer - Chris Papadopoulus and international racer, Josh Hunt. The Radical style of racing being used to hone young drivers to sportscars is a popular route in Europe.
The announcement of his full season Radical program comes at the same time as Gardner has been announced as an ambassador to Penrite Oil.
The 15-year-old counts Bathurst 1000 champion Lee Holdsworth as a mentor - Holdsworth and Gardner are both alumni of Brisbane Grammar School and the Supercars veteran has proven to be a great sounding board to Gardner.
After success in karting, the youngster’s resume is enviable, having qualified for the Ferrari Driver Academy Asia Pacific and Oceania Selection Program last year in Malaysia and - despite being one of the youngest drivers on hand - making it into the final six from the 24 racers that were taking part in the event. The leadup to this was where he first encountered Volante Rosso Motorsport.
It was his application and natural talent that piqued the interest of the team - who have now opened the door for him to pursue an international career - his eyes firmly on the Le Mans 24 Hour.
“Alex has the attributes required to develop as an international racing driver - and, at just 15, he has time on his side,” explained Chris Papadopolous. “I was impressed with how Alex adapted so quickly when we had him in an open wheeler and I think he’ll do the same in the Radical. Out of the car, he was very impressive as well and the feedback received from the trainers at the Ferrari Shootout were aligned with our thoughts.
“He’s got an ambition to race Le Mans and I think that we can give him the skillset to pursue that and the Radical is, in my belief, the perfect way to begin adapting to a prototype style of racing car.”
Alex’s main focus will be the five round Radical Australia Cup national Series, along with several state-based events.
He’ll also benefit from being aligned with Volante Rosso Motorsport that operates AMG Customer Sports GT3 equipment in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia, powered by AWS.
“The Radical is such a high performance race car and it will teach me many skills I need for my future racing career,” said Alex Gardner - who had his first taste of Radical machinery just over a week ago. “I strongly believe with the guidance of Volante Rosso that it will enable me to get onto a path to Le Mans - it has always been a dream of mine to race in the Le Mans 24 Hour.
“I am privileged and thankful to have the opportunity to work with a professional and high quality race team like Volante Rosso Motorsport and they have so much to offer me all of which will make me a better driver.
“The chance to also be around the GT World Challenge Australia AMG Customer Sports team will provide me with even more knowledge from the inner workings of a team at the highest of levels.
“I’m able to bring some of my sponsors across from karting and Excel racing, which is really exciting - along with the support from my parents and broader off-track team. The Radical Cup program gives us time and the chance to approach and bring some new brands on board for the season as well.”
Volante Rosso Motorsport will be making further announcements regarding the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia, powered by AWS program in the coming weeks where it is looking to build off the podium finish it attained at the recent Bathurst 12 Hour.