In the midst of a busy weekend for 130R Performance-supported athletes, with a last minute GT Cup deal for Tom Rawlings and Bruno Costa’s first full race meeting in the UK, we brought the two of them (and their cars!) together to reflect on a shared milestone in their respective motorsport journeys.
Following his time in karting (and also a spell in the British F1000 Junior Rally Championship) Rawlings began his circuit racing career with Monoposto Racing Club back in 2018. In an impressive debut season, Tom showed his speed by achieving multiple pole positions, fastest laps, 'Rookie of the year' award, and finished third in the Mono 1000 (Moto engine) class championship. The following year, he continued to run in Monoposto alongside a successful debut MINI Challenge JCW campaign, in the very same car run by John Kirby Sport that Bruno Costa will be racing this season. With his main focus on the 2019 MINI Challenge season, Tom still committed to much of the initial development work of the JKS single seater in its first full season running on track, keen to help Kirby develop the car and take advantage of extra seat time as he developed both his mechanical/set-up knowledge and race craft skills.
With Tom having now made the leap to endurance racing on the GT Cup grid, he would be the first to acknowledge that participation in Monoposto was pivotal in providing an opportunity to develop key skills as a young driver in his first years out of karting, and crucially in a low-cost environment. With other notable recent graduates of the series moving on to race elsewhere in TCR UK and British F3 last year (Max Hart and Alex Fores respectively) the championship is building quite a record for furthering the careers of young drivers. Bruno’s journey is slightly different, with his experience of racing silhouette-style Super Turismo cars back home in Brazil now being adapted to the more precise driving style required for single-seater driving. Also key for Bruno this season is that Monoposto’s nine-round calendar on some of the UK’s top circuits fulfils his aim of racing abroad in the best way possible; competing on the very same tracks that he saw his motorsport role models race on as a child.
In a further twist, Bruno was also Tom’s race mechanic during his two seasons competing in the MINI JCW series with JamSport Racing, so the two are very much inextricably linked through their last few years in motorsport. The pair have built up an off-track friendship during the course of working together so often, therefore it was a pleasant surprise to find that they would be sharing their first race weekend of 2021 at the same circuit, with Monoposto supporting GT Cup at Donington Park for the season opener.
As a racer myself, I know the feeling of how important the mechanic is to the driver; sometimes it’s more important than their own family on a race weekend. If you do not have trust with your mechanic, you will not be able to push as hard as you can because you’re not sure if you can make the corner as fast as you want... if you’re not sure that the car is perfect. Because me and Tom got on really well he trusted me, and I think that helped him to push a bit harder and helped me to get confidence in my skills as well.
A big thanks to Paddock Motorsport and the Donington Park marshal crew for facilitating our impromptu pit lane reunion, and helping bring the unlikely pairing of JKS Mono 1000 car and McLaren 570S GT4 together late in the evening. For more information on racing in Monoposto see our dedicated web page here.