Blake Purdie locked in for S5000 debut
17-year-old South Australian rising star Blake Purdie will pilot 88 Racing’s newest entry in the upcoming S5000 Tasman Series this November and December.
The graduate from Australian Formula 3 and the Australian Prototype Series will run his regular racing number (48) and sport backing from well-known beverage producer, Nippy’s, when he joins Australia’s premier open-wheel category this summer.
The Adelaide teenager had his first taste of S5000 horsepower on Sunday at The Bend Motorsport Park.
Despite his age, Purdie has already established an impressive racing CV, with multiple state karting championships to his credit since his debut in 2014.
His switch to racing cars in 2020 saw him claim the SA Sports Car invitational Series driving a Wolf Prototype Series racer.
He currently sits second in the Australian Prototype Series and the Australian 250cc Superkart Championship and has also been gaining experience in Formula 3 ‘wings and slicks’ machinery ahead of his S5000 debut.
Purdie recently scored pole and finished second to former national champion John Magro in a recent F3 event held at The Bend Motorsport Park.
Purdie will concentrate on the S5000 campaign, both the Tasman Series and working towards the 2022 Australian Drivers’ Championship, from this point onwards: his family feeling the opportunity and exposure of the S5000 during the Tasman Series too good to miss.
As well as his recent racing experience, Purdie has had the support and mentorship from Australian open-wheel legend Ian Richards throughout his young racing journey, the former Australian F2 champion also overseeing his S5000 test on Sunday.
Purdie’s addition to the 88 Racing squad continues the team’s youth push, having already seen the impressive debut of Cooper Webster during this year’s Australian Drivers’ Championship.
While the team works to secure Webster’s return – pending budget availability – 88 Racing will confirm details of their second Tasman Series driver later this week.
“The test day was good. It was my first time in the car and it took a few sessions to get used to it,” Purdie said.
“By the last session I was finding the limit, making a few tweaks and playing around with it.
“The power is ridiculous. I’m used to prototypes and Formula 3 cars with four-cylinder engines but with the V8 it’s crazy, it just keeps going in any gear!
“It’s been great having Ian (Richards) around. He’s very experienced in F3 and open wheel cars and is very valuable to have on our side.
“I’m really pumped to head to Sydney and Bathurst and I think the S5000 will be insane at those two tracks.
“It’s great to have an iconic South Australian company like Nippy’s on board to support my S5000 debut.
“I am hoping to run at the front but I’m not too sure what to expect – but hopefully it will be at the front.”
“We have pleasure in announcing a long-term relationship for our second car, number 48,” Callegher said.
“Blake has major backing from his primary sponsor, Nippys beverage company, one of Australia’s trusted premium brand beverage companies made famous by its fresh squeezed orange juice.
“It’s great to see a long time South Australian business back its future star driver into S5000.
“The Teams focus is younger successful drivers with the passion for hard work and driving skill.
“We will run ‘open book’ with car #88 as a team with full knowledge between the drivers, car set up driving styles and more. It’s going to be quite exciting have two quality drivers race side by side in the one team and with no secrets.
“It’s also great to have another young driver coming into the team and the category. Whilst critics may say they are inexperienced in race craft or race tactics, the idea is to grow the category to a point that it is the number one destination for up-and-coming drivers like Formula Holden once was.
“We expect to announce the driver of Car 88 within a week after completing final negotiations and budgets.
“We’re going to have a strong two-car team for the S5000 Tasman Series which will set us up well for the 2022 S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship.
“For the Tasman Series we have engaged the services of an experienced, respected Engineer and we’re grateful to add that talent pool to the team as we slowly grow our base.
“The lessons learnt over the last 12 months has serviced us well into fielding two competitive cars and allowing the drivers to do their thing.
“That is going to be quite exciting.”