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This past weekend’s (1-2 March) season opener saw Chloe Stuart rise to the DOE Formula Vee, partnered by CIM Lubricants, debut challenge at Zwartkops Raceway; however, teammate Tjaden Tromp could not compete.

Both drivers participated in various unofficial tests and practice in the past week, but the start of the official race weekend saw Tromp not being allowed to participate in any sessions. Simplified, the reason relates to his age. While both drivers are currently 14, Stuart’s 15th birthday will occur within the first 16 months of 2024, while Tromp’s birthday is in the latter half.

Despite the fact that both drivers have competed in main circuit single-seater races in the past 18 months, only Stuart was allowed to participate in Round 1, leaving Tromp relegated to pit and support duties.

“It is a bitter pill to swallow, but we will not let this demotivate us.” Said Tromp. “Since Thursday, there have been a host of discussions regarding this. I cannot comment much on those at present due to the matter’s sensitive nature. I know you all want to know the situation, but I want to ask you to be patient for now. We will say more when we can.”

However, being the mature athlete he developed into in the last few years, Tromp is very level-headed in his approach to the matter. “I know various people will have different opinions about the matter, most of this emotionally-driven. This humbles me to see that I already have such a solid support base. However, I want to ask that we keep commentary on what is relevant only. This issue will play out, one way or the other, or once we get to July. For now, the main focus will be on Chloe’s campaign. This is why I’m also staying around this weekend. We are a team; we came up together as a team, and I will support her progress for now.

Stuart, now the youngest female competitor at a regional level in South Africa, made a promising debut. While Friday provided the first official chance to establish herself in the pecking order in similar conditions, she put in a level-headed performance with consistent times registered in the day’s three practice sessions.

She followed up with 13th place on the grid in Saturday morning’s qualifying session before taking 14th and 13th place in the respective two races. Apart from finishing both races, she also displayed the ability to keep calm and clear of any potentially precarious situations.

“I put that down to how we prepared for the season.” Said Stuart. “You can’t approach every situation with all guns blazing, particularly not in racing. We are taking the car home in one piece and are returning with loads of valuable data from the debut weekend. Given that the final decision to compete in Formula Vee was only made about a week prior, we are indeed delighted with the result. We paved the way for great things to come.

TC Racing’s next outing in DOE Formula Vee, partnered by CIM Lubricants, will be at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit on April 11-13.

TC Racing want to thank Victron Energy South Africa, Solergy, Milwaukee, Pretoria Noord Toyota, Basically Branding, National Energy Solutions, Liqui Moly, NAG Magazine, LMS Electrical and Slayer Energy Drinks for making the 2024 season possible.

Issued by Brandsponential on behalf of TC Racing

Photography by: James Thomson and Willie Pretorius

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