Nathan Herne set for Sprintcar debut in Tasmania
Turtle Wax Trans Am champion and S5000 driver Nathan Herne will make his dirt track racing debut this Boxing Day, competing in a Sprintcar in Tasmania.
Herne will drive a 410 Sprintcar in the fifth round of the Tasmanian Sprintcar Championship at Carrick Speedway in two days time.
After his debut at Carrick, the Garry Rogers Motorsport driver will contest the majority of the 17-round Tasmanian Sprintcar Championship with Luttrell Motorsport, crewed by Marcos Ambrose.
Herne’s entry will be supported by Oyster Cove Marina and GRM – the first time that the famous Melbourne-based team has ventured into dirt track racing.
The deal for Herne to race has been orchestrated by GRM’s competition director Ambrose, who will help guide Herne through his maiden Sprintcar races.
The drive follows in the footsteps of his father Stuart who competed in speedway competition for 25 years, winning seven Australian titles along the way.
Herne’s sister, Natasha, also competes in speedway competition, racing wingless Sprintcars.
While this will be Herne’s debut on the dirt, the 19-year-old is no stranger to big horsepower race machinery. He has competed in Trans Am competition for the past three years, securing this year’s title at the final round of the Turtle Wax Trans Am Series at Mount Panorama. He has also competed in the S5000 Australian Driver’s Championship this year, finishing sixth in the all-Aussie single seater class, and taking second place in the final round of the Shannons Tasman Series at Bathurst.
The summer Sprintcar racing will keep Herne in check ahead of a return to both Trans Am and S5000 racing in the new year, with the first round of both those series at Symmons Plains Raceway on February 11-13.
CLICK HERE to secure tickets to the second-annual Race Tasmania event at Symmons Plains Raceway.
“I’ve grown up in and around dirt track racing. My earliest memories of motorsport are watching dad work on his V8 dirt modified in the shed and then pushing hot wheels cars through the dirt behind the grandstand at Lismore instead of watching his racing,” said Herne.
“A lot of people wouldn’t actually know this but my dream growing up was to always get the remaining three Australian championships in V8 dirt modifieds to take the total for the Herne family to 10. Speedway was always going to be where I would go with my career and the bitumen stuff was actually all by chance. It wasn’t until I had my first taste of Formula Ford when I changed my mindset to attack the Australian circuit racing scene.
“The whole deal to get me in a Sprintcar was not through any of my own suggestions. I had a good chat with Marcos Ambrose in the lunch room one day about dirt and told him my family’s history and I saw the cogs start turning in his head. Then a week later I was called in for a meeting with Marcos, Garry and Barry where I was told the plan to get me onto the dirt track. My first phone call was to my dad who thought I was originally joking, it was so far from left field that we just didn’t expect it.
“My sister races in speedway currently. We haven’t had as much time to focus on her and her racing, she’s busy running a successful cheerleading business back in Lismore and I’ve obviously moved down to Melbourne to work with GRM.
“Everyone knows that a Sprintcar is an absolute beast of a race car. The power to weight ratio is almost unbelievable and it really is just a set of bars strapped to a 900HP V8. I really can’t describe how excited I am to do this but I know it’s going to be baptism by fire.
“Hopping into my first ever speedway race in a 410 Sprintcar is something that is unheard of and I have a lot of mixed emotions right now. But if Garry, Barry and Marcos or the Lutrells didn’t think I was up for it they wouldn’t be putting me into the car. That in itself is something that brings a lot of confidence to the table and driving in the Lutrell’s car, I know I’ve got the tools to do the job.”