12 May 2023 | General

Moffat sets the tone on opening day

The second round of the National Trans Am Series is officially underway, and it was James Moffat finding himself in familiar territory at the top of the timesheets from both of Friday’s practice sessions.  

Taking the track as part of the third round of the Shannons SpeedSeries at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, the action kicked off with Practice 1 late in the morning before the second session was held in the afternoon.

In what was a dominant display, the Team Valvoline driver finished one second ahead of his closest challenger in Ben Grice – who is looking to make up some ground after a disappointing season opener at the AWC Race Tasmania.

Whilst the gap to the leader was quite large, Grice did a brilliant job to stay ahead of multiple other drivers behind who were putting in similar times throughout the session – emphasising the competitive nature of the series.

Edan Thornburrow was only two tenths of a second behind Grice, with a similar gap splitting the New South Welshman and the experienced Owen Kelly, while Brett Holdsworth rounded out the top five.

With many of the drivers running different programs to what they did earlier on in the day, the narrative changed as the gap to the front was significantly reduced.

Kelly finished a mere tenth behind the current series leader on the timesheets, and was the only driver to come within seven tenths overall.

Grice was unable to improve on his fastest time in the opening session, but the All-American Driveline pilot still managed to find himself in third ahead of an improved Lochie Dalton and Thornburrow.

After setting the standard on the opening day, Moffat was pleased to start the weekend on a high note and is confident heading into qualifying.

“It was obviously a good start to the weekend for us, we were doing two different programs across both practices so it was good to see us quickest in both practice sessions,” Moffat said.

“It means everyone at GRM has done a really good job rolling out a fast car for me.

“I think we achieved what we wanted to today, we have a good understanding of what the car can do over one lap and what it can do over several laps so that’s beneficial heading into the weekend.

“The aim is to just put together a nice clean lap, and i think that puts us somewhere near the front of the field.”

Drivers will now turn their attention to Saturday morning’s qualifying session, where a grid will be determined for the first of their three races across the weekend.