Leanne won her first race
NSW Junior ‘J’ Champion
NSW Senior ‘J’ Champion
QLD Intercontinental A Champion (Intercontinental A is an international category run in all countries that race karts and considered the highest level in Australian karting)
Runner up – Australian Intercontinental A Championship
13th – World Cup, Suzuka Japan
Leanne made the step up into Formula Ford and became the youngest ever female to do so.
Leanne attended Jim Russell Racing Driver School in Donington, England. Was named “Most Promising Pupil” of the school.
Leanne raced in two rounds of the Porsche Cup, qualifying on pole position in both rounds and finishing 2nd in the races.
Leanne contested her first full season of the Australian Formula Ford Championship
Leanne contested the Australian Formula Ford Championship, finishing 7th outright in the championship
Leanne contested the Australian Formula Ford Championship for the final time.
Round 1 – Leanne became the first female ever to win a round of the Australian Formula Ford Championship.
Leanne finished 3rd outright in the championship, becoming the first female ever to finish on the podium of a CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport – the governing body of motor sport in Australia) national championship
Leanne drove in the 2hr Showroom Showdown at Bathurst in a Holden Astra with Rick Kelly, finishing 2nd in class.
Leanne contested the Konica V8 Supercar Series.
Round 1 – Leanne finished 2nd, becoming the first female ever to stand on the podium of a V8 Supercar race
QLD 500 – (Part of the main V8 Supercar Championship) Leanne finished 12th
Bathurst 1000 – Leanne was entered for the race and practiced, but her co-driver was involved in an incident before she had a chance to race
Leanne changed to a newer team for the 2002 Konica V8 Supercar Championships.Whilst the team showed pace, mechanical failures stopped the team from achieving the desired results
With a lack of funding preventing Leanne from competing in any national series, Leanne decided to concentrate on finishing her university degree, a Bachelor of Commerce, and getting back to the level of racing where it’s all about having fun.
Leanne raced a series II RX-7 her dad built in a club series called ‘Improved Production,’ which is for production cars that have had limited improvements in the areas of engine performance and suspension. Leanne had some success in the class, winning the “Interstate Challenge,” qualifying on pole position for the nationals and winning the majority of individual races she contested.
In June, Leanne was given the opportunity to race the factory backed Daihatsu Sirion in the Queensland round of the Australian Production Car Championships. Her successful run saw her called up again for the Phillip Island round in August and also for the 2hr Showroom Showdown at Bathurst in November, where it looked like she and her co-driver Rick Bates were in a good position for a class win until Leanne was put into the wall at Skyline (the corner at the top of Mt Panorama) by a faster car.
Australian Production Car Championship
Leanne was given a fantastic opportunity to contest the entire Australian Production Car Championship (APCC) in a factory Toyota Corolla. Round 1, 20 March, at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide was a disappointing result, with engine management system problems hindering any chance of doing well.
Round 2, 18 April, at Oran Park was a much different story. After spending time developing both the car’s handling and it’s engine, Leanne qualified pole position for her class and won the first race outright. The second race saw Leanne finish 2nd outright, but still the clear winner in her class.
After another 5 rounds with strong, top 5 finishes in each, Leanne finished the series 3rd outright in the Championship and 1st in her class.
As well as racing for Toyota in APCC, Leanne still raced her dad’s RX-7 in Improved Production.
Leanne was the 2005 NSW and Victorian State Champion in Improved Production.
In May, Leanne was given the opportunity to get back into an open-wheeler with a drive in round three of the Formula 3 Championship at Phillip Island.
Having never before driven a Formula 3, Leanne steadily improved over the weekend, qualifying 8th and then finishing 5th in both races. Leanne and the team were extremely happy with the results. Having really enjoyed her drive in Formula 3, Leanne was inspired to enter round 7 of the championship when the category supported the A1 Grand Prix at Eastern Creek in early November. After practicing well on Friday (Leanne was 5th fastest in the second practice session), Leanne was disappointed to qualify 9th for race 1 and 8th for race 2. However, Leanne moved forward in both races, finishing 8th in the first race and 4th in the second, taking the honour of being the first 2001 model car over the line.
Leanne has now purchased a 2004 model Opel-Spiess powered Dallara in which she will hopefully contest the entire series in 2006. Her first run in the car will be at Eastern Creek, December 2 – 4, when she competes in the final round of the 2005 Australian Formula 3 Championship.
Leanne finished 5th outright in her first full season of the Australian Formula 3 Championship.
Do you race against men?
Yes – racing is one sport where women and men compete directly against each other on a level playing field. Racing is still a physical sport, but things such as stamina, mental focus and reflexes are just as important, so you need the whole package rather than brute strength.
How do you prepare for races?
In Formula 3, along with most national categories, the number of practice days is restricted to try and keep costs down. We are only allowed 8 practice days each year, which doesn’t give you a lot of seat time. We therefore have to do as much preparation outside the car as possible.
I try to train every day, whether it be running, cycling, swimming, boxing or weights – boxing is my favourite! That hopefully keeps me physically fit enough and strong enough so that when I’m racing, I don’t get tired and can keep focused on the things happening around me on the race track.
What do you enjoy most about racing?
There are so many things I love about racing: the fact that every single time you drive is different to the last time, be it different weather conditions, different track or different competitors, you never know what is going to happen!; the way the car feels when you get a corner or lap just right; the adrenalin rush when you’re on the starting grid waiting for the red lights to go out…
How can I start racing?
Check out the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport website (www.cams.com.au) for tips on how to get started in motor racing – no matter what your age or experience there is a category for you!