Nathan Herne set for US Trans Am Championship cameo
Two-time reigning Turtle Wax Trans Am Series winner Nathan Herne will make his international racing debut next month, contesting the final round of the National Trans Am Championship in the United States at Circuit of The Americas in Texas.
Herne will make a cameo as part of the Stevens-Miller Racing squad where he will join Evan Slater, Tyler Kicera and Rhett Barkau in driving a Ford Mustang as part of the factory Howe Racing Enterprises squad at COTA.
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Herne recently secured his second Turtle Wax Trans Am Series title at Sandown, defeating team-mate Owen Kelly in a close affair in what was his first full-season campaign within Garry Rogers Motorsport.
It will be Herne’s first foray overseas albeit plans were put in place following the 2019 season to head to the US, but these were thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It adds to a packed conclusion to 2022 for Herne as he will also contest the S5000 Tasman Series for Garry Rogers Motorsport in addition to contesting the Turtle Wax Trans Am 100 at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International.
The final round of the National Trans Am Championship at COTA is on November 4-6 – one week before the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International.
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Two-time Turtle Wax Trans Am Series champion
“I’m more than keen for it,” said Herne.
“This year was a weird one. I thought to myself the last few years I’ve had in Australia hopefully something was going to happen, but it went into a quiet phase where I just settled and thought this was going to be the end of my racing until next season. All of a sudden this popped up and a few other things are starting to emerge, so it’s pretty cool.
“To go over to the US is something I’ve always dreamed about since I was about 12-years-old, but I quickly wrote that off as soon as I found out how much it cost to go over there. To finally get the opportunity to go over there, I’m keen as mustard and hopefully it’s not the last chance to go.
“After 2019, we were even trying to get over there and test the waters. Back then it was a different proposition because I was unproven and a young bloke who just wanted to get over there to race as a bucket list item, but now it’s turned into something different.
“We’ll see what happens.
“It’s great that COVID is somewhat behind us as I can go over there to do this and fingers crossed it all goes well.
“We’re with Stevens-Miller Racing. We’ve been talking to team owner Joe Stevens for a couple of years now and the Americans like to keep a keen eye on the Australian series, which they know all about.
“Stevens-Miller Racing is the Howe factory team and in Australia we race the same brand chassis. In America, it’s a bit different with bigger engines, different chassis manufacturers, more aero and a half radial tyre.
“The American Trans Am cars are much more like a Supercar than the Australian version, so it will be exciting and fingers crossed it all goes well.
“I’ve got two sessions to get my eye in around the track before official practice starts through Trans Am and Stevens-Miller Racing, which have put that together for me. I’m racing at the Circuit of The Americas, which is a big facility with a lot of blind apexes, so it’s going to be hard to learn.
“I’ve just got to take the pressure off and enjoy it because this is just a bucket list item for me, I’m not really expecting anything to come out of this, but never say never and maybe something will.
“For now, I’m still 100 per cent committed to Australia to see what I can do locally, I have S5000 a week before and the Bathurst International after. I’m keen to put my name on the Bathurst 100 trophy.”
Team owner, Stevens-Miller Racing
“Nathan is a rising talent in many forms of motor racing and undoubtedly a future racing star,” said Stevens.
“His trust in Stevens-Miller Racing and the Howe Racing Ent. group is more than enough reason for SMR to extend the offer and get him over here.
“This partnership also represents a rare opportunity for our company to show why we are special. Nathan will be driving a new Mustang with some of the 2023 development parts from Howe Racing and we also look forward to hearing his feedback on them.
“The challenges for Nathan at COTA will be many as he joins this series at the season finale.
“This group of TA2 racers in the United States can be, at times, rough. First, he will have to be fast in all 20 turns here at COTA – that in itself is no small measure. Next, he will have to battle to and for the front of this pack. All of these things together amount to a big challenge including having to deal with serious jet lag.
“But we believe Nathan will excel at all the challenges presented to him. If he can bond with the team, our cars, and this track, he will continue to shine as he does in Australia.”