Tom Douglas

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Tom Douglas (born December 17th, 1968 in Liverpool, England) is a retired British racing driver who drove for McLaren and Ferrari in F1RGP2C. He is now the commissioner of F2RWRS. He won the inaugural race of the F1RGP2C in 1994, and took a second race victory two years later in Brazil. Tom is the son of Tony Douglas, co-founder of Douglas-Cliff Racing, which would later become West Cliff Racing, as well as the father of James Douglas.

Racing Career

Early career

Having grown up in a racing family, Douglas was driving for his father's racing team from an early age in karting and Formula Ford. By age 21, Tom had already won the British Formula Three Championship, narrowly beating out David Brabham for the 1989 championship. Douglas soon moved to Japanese Formula 3000 where he became a top-line competitor, finishing runner up in 1991 and winning in 1992. Unable to secure a Formula One drive with the Tyrrell team, Douglas moved into the Life GP Series with his father's team, Douglas-Cliff Racing.

1994-1996: F1RGP2C

1994

With the Formula One teams deciding to start a new championship, convinced by a few time-travelling computer engineers and a Polish consortium, that would run alongside Formula One and would include some drivers from the present and others from 20 years in the future, Douglas was interested in the prospect, and was signed by the McLaren team alongside time-traveller Douglas Mann.

During pre-season testing, Tom was hovering around tenth position, but when the series was saved from bankruptcy by the time-travelling Tristan Jung, the McLarens were suddenly on the pace by the start of the season. Tom qualified fourth, and after a tremendous start that saw him second, took the lead from John Zimmer and duly won the race. Douglas stayed cynical though, and said that he would have a hard time keeping up with Williams and Benetton. He turned out to be right.

While Douglas was able to consistently qualify in the top ten, albeit usually far behing his team mate, he could only seldom turn it into a points finish, these occasions coming in San Marino, Hungary, Europe and Spain, where he managed to take second place in a high-attrition race. Usually though, he failed to take advantage of his qualifying spots, either due to unreliability or a simple lack of pace, the latter earning him Reject of the Race for the Canadian Grand Prix, where he was outpaced by Mann as well as the Tyrrell of Pieter Kickert. At the Japanese Grand Prix, Douglas crashed after having a high-speed puncture and got a concussion and a fractured ankle during the accident, ending his season prematurely. He was replaced for the last race by Ben Fleet. Douglas finished 8th in the non-championship Nazareth 200.

Prior to the Portuguese Grand Prix, Douglas announced that he would be leaving McLaren at the end of the year to move to Ferrari. After the Australian Grand Prix, Ferrari seatholder Luca de Montmelo confirmed the move in a sraight swap with Rory McAllister.

1995

The Ferrari was visibly more competitive than the 1994 McLaren, and Douglas was on the pace from the start, running well in the points in Brazil until his clutch failed with four laps to go. This streak of unreliability would chase him for most of the season. He scored his first point of the season after a nice comeback drive in San Marino, finishing sixth after a battle with Pieter Kickert.

Tom, not a great qualifier, was being soundly beaten by his team mate Padraig O'Connell, who not only was a better qualifier, but also had more luck regarding reliability. Still, Douglas was more than able to score regularly, and he took his first podium in Spain, thanks to the retirements of Mann and Takagi.

Douglas again scored a point in Canada, but was disqualified after the race for colliding with race leader John Zimmer while attempting to unlap himself. Later, the penalty was extended to a one-race ban. Masta Valsattis therefore replaced Douglas for the French Grand Prix. Tom rebounded nicely with a fourth place at his home Grand Prix, and after a sixth place in qualifying at Hockenheim, he retired from another points position with a handful of laps left.

In Belgium, Tom was set for another point, when the top four all retired in quick succession, including O'Connell. After this streak of attrition, Tom finished the race in a distant second place, behind championship contender Daniel Moreno. After this, Tom had a good run of reliability and scored in the next three races, including two fourth places, but no podiums. This prompted Luca de Montmelo to offer Douglas a multi-year contract, which Douglas duly accepted. He then scored his best qualifying performance of the season in Europe, with 5th position.

His season was ended by three consecutive retirements and an anonymous race in the Duel in the Desert, finishing 14th. With 21 points, Tom was 7th in the championship and thoroughly thrashed by O'Connell, who ended the season in third and, at 40 years old, retired from the series.

For 1996, Douglas had requested for Montmelo to sign Minardi driver Andrew Spokes as team mate, but Montmelo followed O'Connell out of the team, to join Forti, and was replaced by Andreas Stefano. After a lengthy debate, Stefano hired his preferred driver Kazuhiko Takagi, with Spokes moving to Benetton.

1996

The 1996 Ferrari proved to be a quick car, and Douglas was immediately on the pace again, and this time a serious challenger at the very front. In Australia, Tom scored his first pole position, a feat he would repeat again in Brazil, scoring the fastest lap in both. Although he retired from the lead at Melbourne, Tom took his second F1RGP2C race victory at Interlagos.

In Argentine, he finished fourth despite qualifying in the second half of the field, simply thanks to attrition, and despite the fact that he made countless driver mistakes. This still put him in second place in the championship behind the dominant Moreno. Douglas then lost another points opportunity at the Nürburgring where he had a hefty crash at turn 1.

Douglas crashes in Luxembourg.

Douglas again lost certain points at San Marino due to a mechanical failure, but scored again at Monaco, where he finished fourth. Douglas was set to win his third Grand Prix in Spain when he retired after a collision with Artiom Zielenkovski, which Douglas later blamed on the Belarussian. In Canada and the USA, Tom retired again, but in Elkhart Lake, Tom earned three penalty points after colliding with both Robert Anderson and Leonhard von Gottorp.

In France, Tom was set for a second podium, but after a brake problem, the Ferrari team were unable to adapt his strategy, and he dropped to fourth position. As consolation, Tom picked up his third fastest lap of the season. In the following race at Silverstone, Tom scored his third pole position in a tricky qualifying session, but spun off on lap 11 and retired with an engine failure shortly after.

In Germany, Douglas was set for second place, but in an altercation with Damon Cannon, he lost the place to Pippa Mann, prompting Tom to go after Damon after the race. The two got in a fight, which was quickly broken up. He scored a further point in Hungary, but would have scored a podium had Ferrari not failed to put enough fuel in the car, a mistake that earned Ferrari the Reject of the Race award.

After failing to finish the Belgian Grand Prix, Douglas finished fourth at Monza, despite suffering from brake problems early on in the race. His season ended in tears though, when he spun Daniel Moreno around on lap 1 of the Japanese Grand Prix, retiring on the next lap with an engine failure. Douglas ended the season fifth in points. Although the year had brought mixed results, Douglas was able to end it on a high note by winning the 1996 Duel in the Desert and the Nabisco Trophy. He came up from seventeenth on the grid and avoided the accidents that befell his challengers to win by thirty-nine seconds.

2011-2012: REECCS

Five-time Formula One champion Daniel Melrose had not taken part in the F1RGP2C while in 2011, but had followed it as a child, and remembered Douglas when the time had come to nominate two drivers for the REECCS season-ending Bathurst Enduro. Missing a second driver for the 74 car, Melrose contacted Douglas, by then in his fourties, to drive the car alongside the young Mitchell Macklin.

Douglas' 2012 Skoda.

Set to compete in the first race, Douglas had to make do with an uncompetitive Wartburg, and he could only finish 20th in his heat, though second of the Wartburgs, automatically earning three points. In his heat, Macklin finished 19th. Overall, the duo were classified 20th, enough for six points. Douglas therefore ended up with 9 points, which put him 56th in the final season standings.

Impressed by the veteran's showing, Melrose gave Douglas Dean O'Lauchlan's number 73 Skoda for the 2012 season. Tom's career was suddenly resuscitated.

With a car that was competitive, Douglas was ecstatic, and after a disappointing first race, he took a brilliant second place at Autumn Ring Mini behind Dinah Lance. However, the random nature of the series soon brought Douglas down to earth, and he failed to finish in the top 15 for the next two races. However, his podium in round 2 ensured that he was still in 14th place at that point. He scored points again in round 5 at Monaco, with a solid sixth place finish.

2015: FORASCAR, RTCC

Despite his blossoming political career (see below), Tom was still actively racing in touring and stock cars. For 2015, he announced that he would take part in two series in parallel, a part-time schedule in the new FORASCAR series alongside a full-time season in the revived Rejects Touring Car Championship, driving a 1995 Vauxhall Cavalier for his own Douglas-Cliff Racing. While the FORASCAR series quickly collapsed due to a lack of financial backing, Douglas kicked off the RTCC season with a 9th place at Penrith Speedway. However, unreliability kept him out of the points more often than note. Despite the setbacks, he scored two more points paying results over the course of the year; a 13th place in the San Francisco feature race, and a 12th in the Suzuka sprint race after starting a season-best 6th place on the grid.

Political career

During the years of his absence from the circuit, Douglas had turned to the political side of the sport and had worked his way up the ladder, continuing to do so while competing in the REECCS. In 2014, at the creation of the F2RWRS, Douglas was appointed vice-commissioner, second-in-command behind Don Rennis.

Rennis quickly instated tight restrictions and enforced heavy penalties. Coupled to Rennis' usually apathetic behaviour, this made him largely unpopular in the paddock, and following a legal battle with Scuderia Alitalia, Rennis was fired.

As vice-commissioner, Tom took his place and immediately relaxed some problematic regulations. He allowed more freedom in technical regulations, implemented a penalty system for 2016 and opened the series to more constructors and engine manufacturers, among others.

Complete Motorsport results

Complete F1RGP2C results

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 NC DC Pts
1994 Marlboro McLaren-Peugeot McLaren MP4/9 Peugeot A6 V10 BRA
1
PAC
Ret
SMR
5
MON
Ret
ESP
2
CAN
7
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
5
BEL
8
ITA
10
POR
7
EUR
5
JPN
Ret
AUS
INJ
9th 22
1995 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 412T2 Ferrari 044/1 3.0 V12 BRA
9*
ARG
Ret
SMR
6
MON
Ret
ESP
3
CAN
DSQ
FRA
EX
GBR
4
GER
Ret
HUN
Ret
BEL
2
ITA
6
POR
4
EUR
4
JPN
Ret
PAC
Ret
AUS
Ret
PHX
14
7th 21
1996 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari F310 Ferrari 046 3.0 V10 AUS
Ret
BRA
1
ARG
4
LUX
Ret
SMR
Ret
MON
4
ESP
Ret
CAN
Ret
USA
Ret
FRA
4
GBR
Ret
GER
3
HUN
6
BEL
Ret
ITA
4
JPN
Ret
PHX
1
5th 27
1997 Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari F310B Ferrari 046 3.0 V10 AUS
8*
BRA
3
ARG
2
SMR
Ret
MON
2
ESP
3
CAN
1
USA
1
FRA
Ret
GBR
2
GER
12*
HUN
1
BEL
Ret
ITA
11
AUT
5
JPN
Ret
PHX
11
2nd 58
1998 Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari F300 Ferrari 047 3.0 V10 AUS
9*
BRA
2
ARG
1
SMR
2
ESP
4
MON
1
CAN
2
GBR
Ret
USA
INJ
FRA
2
AUT
2
GER
3
HUN
2
BEL
ITA
JPN
PHX
2nd 63

Complete REECCS results

Year Team Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 DC Pts
2011 Melrose Racing Team Wartburg 353w BSP
TGT
KNO
LRN
LYD
ROC
F8T
SAN
SAO
ORA
LYN
MON
PAU
BKM
MNZ
LIE
NOR
BAT
ovr: 20
cls: 2
56th 9
2012 Melrose Racing Team Skoda 110R BSP
20
ARM
2
TGT
22
VAN
Ret
MON
6
LIE
KIC
VAR
USC
BAT
RAB
OPA
LYN
NOR
ADE
SUR
MIA
F8T
14th** 20**

*Douglas was the second-best Wartburg driver in his heat, therefore earning three points. **Standings accurate after Vanuatu.