Tommy and The Art of Villainy
Although synonymous with class-winning Marcos racecars during the 1990s, Thomas was also able to demonstrate his brilliance in a wide variety of other cars – and in many different colours! Aside from the Jaguar XJ220, the Lister Storm and the TVR Cerbera, Thomas also showed his skill at the wheel of cars such as the Saleen Mustang, Chrysler Viper, Ecurie Ecosse Group C and Jaguar XJR15, as well as numerous other saloon and sports cars in his role as a qualified instructor and race car demonstrator.
In 1999 Thomas was contracted to join Chamberlain Motorsport for Le Mans in Viper #57. He pre-qualified as the fastest independent in GTS, only bettered by the factory Oreca squad. In the race itself the car finished 9th in class despite 4 hours of mechanical problems.
Following his Chamberlain debut at Le Mans Tommy made a number of guest appearances for the team in the American Le Mans Series, including a remarkable podium at the Nurburgring in July 2000. Torrential rain made visibility almost impossible, yet the Erdos magic was in evidence once again as he weaved his way through the field to secure an unexpected podium.
In 2000 Tommy made his first appearance in an historic Group C racecar, steering the 1987 Ecurie Ecosse C2 to victory in the Silverstone round of the Group C Revival series in June. The diminutive red and yellow car emerged fifth overall against impressive competition.
In 2001 Thomas was contracted by ABG Motorsport to drive one of their privately-entered Lexus IS200 saloon cars in the prestigious British Touring Car Championship. It was not an easy season, but Tommy emerged with great credit after making more of the opportunity than anyone had dreamed possible.
Delays in the arrival of the team’s second car and the subsequent departure of Kurt Luby meant that Thomas missed the first twelve rounds, making his debut at Knockhill for Round 13 in July. From nowhere the Lexus was suddenly fourth and Erdos was hailed as the surprise “new” discovery.
He was the first driver to take on the Vauxhalls head-to-head, but was never able to match their consistency – thanks wholly to inherent problems with the IS200. He closed the year seventh in the championship after completing just eleven of the twenty-six races.