Ben Grice bullish heading into second half of Trans Am season
Second-generation driver and recent Trans Am National Series podium winner Ben Grice believes he will be a factor entering the back half of the season as his crew comes to grips with his #03 All American Drive Line & Auto Parts Dodge Challenger.
Spearheaded by Bathurst winning engineer Les Small, Grice’s campaign took another step forward by finishing on the podium last time out at Sydney Motorsport Park in the Challenger owned by motor racing luminary Greg Crick.
Grice is keen to shake up established frontrunners Nathan Herne and Aaron Seton, who alongside category newcomer Owen Kelly have been the class of the field so far this season.
“We’re learning pretty quick,” Grice said. “We’re not far away and when we get that car speed, they better be worried because I turn up to race, and I want a crack at beating them.”
Unable to test due to the latest Melbourne lockdown, Grice is learning round-by-round compared to the leading contenders, who have seasons of experience already in Trans Am machinery.
“The front two (Seton and Herne) have been running these cars for three years,” Grice said. “They’ve got all this data and the kids know how to drive them, so we’re learning on the fly.
“When we do get the car speed, they better be worried because I’m going to have a crack.”
Grice was absent from the series at Round 1 at Symmons Plains forming the opening event of Race Tasmania, though was a competitor in the supports as he followed the campaign down south for the second leg at Baskerville Raceway near Hobart contesting the Circuit Excels.
This whetted Grice’s appetite to join the burgeoning class, which led to him forming an alliance with Crick, a decision that is starting to pay dividends.
“He’s an old school racer himself and he’s given us the opportunity to utilise his car, which is good,” Grice said of Crick.
Racing in a tribute livery acknowledging his father Allan’s feats in NASCAR during the late-1980s, Grice is quickly progressing through the field as he learns the intricacies of driving the #03 All American Drive Line & Auto Parts Challenger.
“There’s a lot more driving and engineering that goes into these cars,” he explained.
“There’s a lot more in-put like progressions of throttle and brake, also they don’t have too much aero but until you damage the front of one, you realise how much they’ve got because they just understeer.
“It’s just learning all of that has been a cool thing to get used to.”
Approaching Morgan Park, Grice’s only experience there is competing in his first motor race, but admitted he won’t have an advantage there
“I had my very first race on Morgan Park’s short circuit in a Gemini, but I haven’t been there since,” he said.
“I wouldn’t know where it goes because when you’re new everything’s real foreign and I can’t remember, plus the track has been extended since then also.
“So for me, it’s like going there for the first time.”
The next round of the National Trans Am Series will be held at Morgan Park Raceway on August 15-17. CLICK HERE for tickets.