The Supercars regular is making his Trans Am debut as part of a mammoth 29-car field at Queensland Raceway.
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While Herne’s focus is primarily on the title, it’s a rare opportunity to test himself in equal machinery against one of Australia’s best drivers.
“It’s been very hard to get my name out there in Trans Am as we just haven’t had that benchmark there,” Herne told Wide World of Sports.
“So to have Brodie there – he’s raced NASCAR-style cars before, he’s obviously raced in Supercars as well – it’ll be good to compare myself against him. I’m quietly confident in the pace that we have in the GRM cars and in myself to be able to at least push him.
“Whilst, yes, he does race in Supercars and has more seat time than I do currently, he’s only human. I don’t expect him to be anything too special to the fact that I won’t be able to keep up with him.
ULTIMATE GUIDE: State of play in Speed Series as Queensland looms
“Trans Am, we’ve all been racing these cars for long enough now, there’s not too much left in them. Whoever the best driver on the day wins. I think there’ll be probably seven, eight, nine cars that could win the race, come Sunday.
“To have someone who’s a current Supercars driver in the spotlight, it’s gonna be good – not only for the drivers to get a benchmark of where we sit but for the fans as well, to see how the drivers in Trans Am rank.
“It’s hard for the fans to get a read on where everyone sits, but I think after this QR round everyone’s gonna realise how competitive the Trans Am field is. It’s just going to go from strength to strength.”
Trans Am is home to several high profile names, including third-generation racer Jett Johnson – grandson of five-time Australian Touring Championship winner Dick Johnson.
Second-generation racers Ben Grice and Nash Morris, son of Bathurst 1000 winners Allan Grice and Paul Morris respectively, are forging their careers in the series.
Herne says the category is an attractive option for up-and-comers who don’t necessarily have the budget to compete in Supercars.
“It’s a category that 100 percent gets under-represented,” Herne said of Trans Am.
“We’ve got some of the best drivers in Australia who haven’t got the budgets to make it into the top leagues and in front of all the TV screens, which is where you go to get your name out there.
“Motorsport is a very hard world. It’s not like the AFL, where if you’re a good player you get pulled through the ranks and straight to the top.
“Motorsport, you have to make your own profile, to make your own profile you have to race on TV, to race on TV, you have to race with all the big and expensive categories in the big and expensive cars.
“For a lot of people it’s just not attainable to do that on the budgets they’re on. Trans Am has been a great breeding ground for myself to race and get that TV coverage. I definitely didn’t expect Trans Am to gain so much traction in the speed it has.
“It’s definitely solidified itself in Australian motorsport as one of the go-to categories and probably one of the bigger categories in the country now. It’s back to the old-school form of racing where the cars are basic and the drivers have to work hard to get to the front.”
The Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series headlines proceedings at Queensland Raceway across August 5-7 for what will be the fifth round of its calendar.
Turtle Wax Trans Am will play support as well as Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS, Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia, the Australian Production Car Series, GC Marine Australian Prototype Series and Radical Australia Cup.
SpeedSeries coverage will be live and ad-free, exclusively on Stan Sport with a bumper 12 hours of broadcasting across Saturday and Sunday.
TURTLE WAX TRANS AM ENTRY LIST: Nathan Herne (#1 Ford Mustang) Kyle Gurton (#2 Ford Mustang) Ben Grice (#3 Ford Mustang) Mark Crutcher (#4 Ford Mustang) Hugh McAlister (#6 Ford Mustang) Jack Sipp (#7 Ford Mustang) Chris Pappas (#8 Ford Mustang) Warren Wadley (#9 Ford Mustang) Shaun Richardson (#12 Dodge Challenger) Michael Rowell (#15 Ford Mustang) Adam Hargraves (#20 Ford Mustang) John Holinger (#23 Chevrolet Camaro) Elliot Barbour (#27 Chevrolet Camaro) Tom Hayman (#30 Ford Mustang) Cody Burcher (#36 Ford Mustang) Jackson Rice (#37 Ford Mustang) Tim Brook (#38 Ford Mustang) Lochie Dalton (#45 Ford Mustang) Nic Carroll (#48 Dodge Challenger) Brodie Kostecki (#66 Chevrolet Camaro) Nash Morris (#67 Ford Mustang) Jon McCorkindale (#69 Ford Mustang) Owen Kelly (#73 Ford Mustang) John Harris (#88 Ford Mustang) Brett Holdsworth (#99 Chevrolet Camaro) Edan Thornburrow (#116 Ford Mustang) Jett Johnson (#117 Ford Mustang) Craig Scutella (#777 Chevrolet Camaro) James Simpson (#782 Dodge Challenger)
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