Trans Am Australia: Aaron Seton leads after three events just ahead of Nathan Herne
The Trans Am Australia is already in full swing and three exciting events with three races each are in the books – Aaron Seton leads by just two points over Nathan Herne
The Trans Am Australia is one of the most exciting TA2 series on the planet. The entertaining sprint races feature muscle cars with a little less than 500 horsepower. The silhouettes replicate iconic vehicles such as the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger. After three events, Aaron Seton leads the overall standings by just two points over Nathan Herne.
The first race weekend took place at Symmons Plains Raceway in Tasmania, Australia. The 2.41-kilometer circuit features two long straights and an incredibly tight hairpin, which is also banked and – like the famous corkscrew curve at Laguna Seca – downhill.
The first three races of the season in Tasmania
The first race of the season over 18 laps was won by Herne in his #29 Dodge Challenger. After a thrilling three-way battle at the front, the Dream Racing Australia driver crossed the finish line only about 0.5 seconds ahead of Seton in the #1 Ford Mustang, who was second. Rounding out the podium was Chevrolet Camaro driver Brett Holdsworth.
The second race, which again had a distance of 18 laps, was similar to the first. Again, there was a thrilling three-way battle at the front until Seton and Herne managed to pull away. But this time Herne drew the short straw at the wheel of his Challenger. Seton crossed the finish line around 1.5 seconds ahead of Herne to celebrate his first victory of the season.
The finale at Symmons Plains Raceway had a distance of 26 laps. Herne, Seton and Owen Kelly fought a hot battle for the race win at the front. It wasn’t until just before the end – after several lead changes – that Herne edged out Seton to wrap up his second win of the season. Kelly still lost his podium place to Tim Brook, who in the end had even more arrows in his quiver than the Garry Rogers driver.
Next stop: Phillip Island
The second event of the 2021 season took place at the legendary Phillip Island Circuit. The 4.445-kilometer track is home to the World Motorcycle Championship and Supercars races. As in Tasmania, three races were on the Trans Am Australia schedule.
The first race win went to Kelly, who had already shown good pace at Symmons Plains Raceway. Just about a tenth separated him from Seton, who took second place after a strong race. Herne finished around nine seconds behind in third place and thus secured important points in the title fight.
In the second run, it was Herne who really turned up the heat. He first took the lead, but was then overtaken by Seton. After a brilliant chase and twelve laps, Herne crossed the finish line in his Challenger around three tenths ahead of Seton, who finished in second place for the fourth time this season. Rounding out the podium was Kyle Gurton, who even had a chance to win the race, in his Ford Mustang.
Seton made it to the top step of the podium in the finale. For this he beat Herne in his Mustang, who had no chance in the third race at the Phillip Island Circuit. He had to defend himself against Gurton, who only missed second place by a blink of an eye.
The legendary Bathurst
The Trans Am Australia held its third race weekend of the new season on what is probably one of the most famous, but also most feared tracks in the world: the Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst. The approximately 6.2-kilometer track is the venue for the famous 1000 kilometers of Bathurst and the 12h of Bathurst. Three races with once six and twice eight laps were on the program.
But who mastered Mount Panorama best? In the first race it was Seton who finished under yellow ahead of his closest pursuer Herne. Kelly finished ahead of Brook in third, while Edan Thornburrow in the Ford Mustang rounded out the top 5. A total of 22 TA2 cars were on the grid of the race.
Gurton did not see the checkered flag as he had to park his car due to technical issues. Matthew MacKelden also had to retire from the race early because he lost control of his Ford Mustang in a duel and crashed heavily into the tire piles. The car was destroyed, but the driver was okay after the crash. The accident caused the final safety car of the race.
The second race, two laps longer, went to Seton again, who was able to take four seconds off Herne this time. Herne was leading the race, but went off the track, which Seton took advantage of ice-cold. The driver of the #29 car at least managed to hold on to second place. The rest of the result was similar to the first race, with Kelly finishing third ahead of Brook and Thornburrow.
The final race was again won by Herne, who finished ahead of Seton and Brook. In his Challenger he took the lead right after the start and defended it until the end. He was put under a lot of pressure by Seton, who even went side by side with Herne at one point but was unable to get past him. Thornburrow just missed the podium in fourth place and Hugh McAlister rounded out the top 5.
After nine rounds in the 2021 Trans Am Australia season, Seton leads the overall standings with 550 points. Herne is second with 548 points, just two points behind. Thornburrow is already a distant third with 468 followed by Brook and Hadrian Morrall in fifth. This crystallizes a hot title battle between Seton and Herne, who have been convincing in all rounds so far.
The remaining program in 2021
From April 30 to May 2, the series will visit the Sydney Motorsport Park. The roughly four-kilometer track is home to a Supercars race and is located in the southeast of the country. The next stop is Morgan Park Raceway in Warwick, Queensland. Opened in 1969, the circuit impresses with its numerous layouts and offers plenty of variety. The races there will take place from June 25-27.
The series continues on September 17-19 at Sandown International Raceway. The high-speed circuit consisting of 13 turns is located in Melbourne and has been home to various major GT and touring car races in history, such as the Sundown 500. The season finale will be held at Bathurst on November 26-28, the only track to be visited twice in the 2021 season. At Mount Panorama the Trans Am Australia will crown its 2021 champion.