MEDIA RELEASE/TCR Australia - Photo: Velocity Magazine Privateer Volkswagen Golf GTI driver Lachlan Mineeff will…
HMO Customer Racing head to Bathurst for round 3 of the 2021 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series with an expanded three car team for the Easter weekend event.
Series drivers Nathan Morcom and Josh Buchan are joined by Duvashen Padayachee in what will be his maiden race in a TCR machine. The three HMO Customer Racing drivers are excited by TCR’s first visit to the mountain after COVID19 put paid to the 2020 season.
With a wealth of racing experiences at Bathurst ranging from Formula 3 (Nathan still holds the qualifying record time), GT, Super 2 and Production Cars, including a victory in the inaugural Bathurst 6 Hour in 2016, Nathan Morcom may hold an edge when the front wheel drive turbo-charged TCR cars take to the track on Good Friday.
Josh Buchan tasted success in Formula Ford and Tin Tops at Mount Panorama. After two rounds of the championship, Josh is more attuned to the characteristics of his Hyundai i30 N TCR and is relishing the challenge of Mount Panorama.
Duvashen Padayachee may be a TCR debutante, though he is no stranger to the Mount Panorama circuit. After a successful test day at Wakefield Park, Duvashen is looking forward to the new challenge of racing a front-wheel drive TCR car against a largely unknown opposition.
The Hyundai i30 N TCR is expected to be amongst the front runners, with a well balanced chassis and excellent brakes providing plenty of passing opportunities across the 6.213 km circuit. Mostly sunny conditions with moderate temperatures are forecast throughout the weekend which should prove ideal for fast times amongst the turbo-charged field.
“My past experience at Bathurst will certainly help and the Ford Focus is probably the most similar to the Hyundai i30 N TCR of the cars I have driven around the mountain. Mind you any past experience around Bathurst is invaluable.
I’m looking forward to getting the cars up there and to get the racing underway. To be honest we’re not too sure how the i30 N TCR Hyundai will do around the Mount Panorama Circuit. We generally struggle down the longer straights and, as you know, Bathurst has long straights. Our biggest advantage will be under brakes and over the top, not so much the long straight sections up and down the mountain.
I’ll also be carrying an extra 40 kilos of weight after Phillip Island, which makes me the heaviest car in the field.
The Audi’s will also have an extra 20 kg for Bathurst, though I still think they will still be fast, simply because they have always had excellent straight line speed.
Alfa Romeo struggled somewhat at the last round, but they can’t be discounted.
So far in 2021 it has been the Audi, Alfa Romeo and Hyundai i30 N at the front and I don’t expect that to suddenly change.
After Friday practice, we should have a better picture of the weekend. By then the cars and drivers will be settled into the track. Mind you, rain or shine we are happy with our Hyundai i30 N TCR cars, they are fast in any conditions.”
“I’ve mainly raced Porsche at Bathurst in Carrera Cup, the 12 Hour and GT Production, but in nothing quite like a TCR car, so it will be a new experience for me.
I’d never drive a front wheel drive car on a race track prior to Wakefield Park and the first four laps were a real eye opener.
I was quite frankly a fish out of water and really had no idea. I went back and had a talk with Nathan, who has driven a range of race cars in his career that were similar to mine. He simply related the best driving style for the TCR car. Then, once the tyres were up to temperature, it was actually really enjoyable.
I thought to myself that this was a proper race car. You really can throw it into corners, get on the throttle early and brake quite late. The braking technique turned out to be similar to the Porsche and that was helpful. I had to learn to get on the throttle at the right point and not have too much steering at that time as the fronts were doing a lot of the work.
It’s really good just to get the opportunity to race the Hyundai i30 N TCR car this weekend and I am grateful to Nathan and the HMO Customer Racing Team for the opportunity. I know that they had a number of drivers interested in the seat, so we put the deal together right after the Wakefield Park.
The category is really strong in terms of the competitiveness and the quality of the racing and that’s what I am really looking forward to at Bathurst.
The opening two rounds suggest that the Hyundai i30 N TCR is going to be amongst the frontrunners at Bathurst. My car will be a little bit better off because I don’t have a weight penalty and will also have a good set of tyres to start the weekend. It’s really all a bit new for me and at this stage I don’t expect to win as I haven’t raced against many of the drivers in the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series. That said I would like to be in the Top 10 and just see where we go from there. I think that this is definitely achievable.
The Hyundai i30 N TCR should be very quick across the top of the mountain. It is light and has quite a bit of grip and a reasonable amount of aero. It might not be flat out across the top, but I don’t think you’ll be braking, more like half lifts of the throttle. The only place that it will lack anything is the straights because of the horsepower, but everywhere else it should be quick.”
“I have raced twice before at Bathurst with some success. I won the 50th Anniversary Formula Ford event there in 2019 and drove a front-wheel drive Honda Integra in the Tin Tops category at the 2020 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Contrary to what you might think, the Integra was a total contrast to the Hyundai i30 N TCR. If anything, the Formula Ford was probably a closer match in performance. However, like everyone will tell you, driving even a milk crate on wheels around Mount Panorama is pretty exciting. It’s awesome to be back there with the Hyundai i30 N TCR and not some milk crate!
Everyone at HMO Customer Racing is feeling upbeat about our chances at Bathurst.
Our car’s strengths should come to the fore across sector 2 at Mount Panorama where we will be leaning on the chassis through Reid Park, McPhillamy and down into the Esses. It will be exciting to bustle the others through those sections of the track. Reid Park to Forrest’s Elbow will still be a one line racetrack, but there should be slipstreaming opportunities on Conrod and Mountain Straights. That opens up passing opportunities under brakes at Hell Corner, Griffin’s Bend, The Chase and Murray’s Corner. Across the top of the mountain is where people will look to close and then slipstream down Conrod.”
There is no question that Mount Panorama is unique and there are still so many unknowns at this stage. You just don’t really know what a car is going to do until you get there.
The Sunday morning race may well be the fastest race of the weekend. When I ran the morning race in the Formula Ford it was an absolute rocket ship. The turbo charged cars love the thinner morning air and the track usually develops more grip over the course of a meeting.
I think our strategy will be to build a bit of pressure on the others and use the Hyundai i30 N TCR’s chassis dynamics to capitalise on any mistakes.”
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