It would be an understatement to say that racing is in Tomas Scheckter’s blood. Tomas’s father, Jody, was the 1979 Formula One World Champion (he posted 10 F1 wins during his career) and Tomas continues this winning tradition as the third generation of racing drivers in the Scheckter family.
Tomas started racing karts in South Africa at the age of 11 and it did not take long for the young driver to display his ability to reach the podium. He had his first taste of a major championship as a teenager when he captured the South African Kart Championship in 1995. In 1996 he ventured on to the main circuit in the South African Formula Vee series and soon after he was in the South African Formula Ford Series – the Scheckter talent was apparent as Tomas posted two wins.
He had proven his speed in South African motorsports and was then off to Europe the following year where he entered the British Formula Vauxhall Junior series where he raced against the likes of Antonio Pizzonia and Takuma Sato. Tomas immediately made a name for himself as he earned a third in the championship with one victory and one pole – he was also named series Rookie of the Year.
Tomas really began to dominate in 1999 when he won the Formula Opel Euroseries championship with a record eight victories and eight poles, and in the process broke all the winning records previously set by Mika Hakkinen, Rubens Barrichello, and David Coulthard. His talent and raw speed landed him a drive that same year in the last two races of the Formula Nissan championship which Fernando Alonso had dominated that whole season. Even though Tomas was with a new team for this brief stint in Formula Nissan, he took to the new series like he had been driving in it all year and captured an incredible win, two poles, and a second-place position and at the same time he beat Fernando Alonso in both races.
Tomas moved on to the Formula 3 Series in 2000, and in his rookie year, he was the runner-up in the British Formula 3 Championship with two victories and two pole positions, all while contending with racing superstars like Takuma Sato and Antonio Pizzonia. He also had time to prove his worth in the prestigious Marlboro Masters F3 race at Zandvoort where he performed phenomenally by taking the third podium position. To complete his busy year, he competed in the final four races of the FIA Formula 3000 Championship, and Tomas continued to prove his talent with a runner-up finish.
2001 saw Tomas Scheckter move on to the Formula Nissan Series where he exhibited his incredible speed by posting 8 poles, 4 wins, and a runner-up position in the championship. He also found time to participate in the Jaguar Formula 1 team as a test driver.
2002 presented an opportunity in the United States for Tomas to run in the IRL IndyCar Series. The following page highlights Tomas Scheckter’s speed and accomplishments in his IndyCar Series career.
Winnings of Tomas Scheckter:
- Winner of the Bombardier Learjet 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, 2005
- Winner of the Michigan Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway, 2002 Winner of the MBNA Pole Award at Homestead-Miami Speedway, 2005
- Winner of the MBNA Pole Award at Nashville Super Speedway, 2005
- Winner of the MBNA Pole Award at Kansas Motor Speedway, 2002
- Winner of the MBNA Pole Award at Michigan International Speedway, 2002, 2003 Winner of the MBNA Pole Award at Texas Motor Speedway, 2002, 2003, 2005
- Led 85 laps of the Indianapolis 500 in 2002
- Led 63 laps of the Indianapolis 500 in 2003
- Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the year, 2002
- Led 5 races for a total of 443 laps in 2002
- Led 8 races for a total of 491 laps in 2003
- Led 3 races for a total of 32 laps in 2004
- Led 8 races for a total of 365 laps led in 2005