DPO has finished the 2016 motorsport season in style, with Operations Manager Nathan Morcom scoring a national title and a podium in GT racing, and a class win at Australia’s biggest time attack event.
Nathan Morcom celebrates his World Time Attack Challenge victory.
Nathan Morcom won the Open Class at this year’s World Time Attack Challenge at Sydney Motorsport Park on October 14-15, breaking the lap record in the process! It was Nathan’s first attempt at time attack, which is based on each driver’s single fastest flying lap recorded during several track sessions.
Driving a highly modified Mitsubishi Evo 9 for the Royal Purple/Spartan EVO team, he saved his best for the international event’s final Top 5 Shootout. The late-afternoon sun made the 3.93km circuit slippery, but with a deficit of 0.7 seconds to Nissan GT-R driver Matt Longhurst to make up, Nathan pulled out all the stops with a new Open Class record of 1min. 29.26sec.! The time clinched victory by 0.194 seconds.
Nathan accelerates out of The Hairpin at Sydney Motorsport Park on a hot lap aboard the Evo 9.
Nathan was elated to have won in his World Time Attack Challenge debut. “My lap times improved steadily during the weekend, but in the Shootout I went gangbusters and dropped about a full second!” he said. “The track was pretty hot by then, so I’m sure I could have got into the 28s if it had been cooler, but I’m still rapt with my final time and the Open class win.”
He explained that the purpose-built time attack Evo, which sports massive aerofoils and high turbo boost, was very different compared to the DPO McLaren 650S he’s been driving in this year’s Australian GT and Endurance Championships. “The Evo has all-wheel drive, plenty of aero and lots of power,” he said. “You can get on the throttle earlier in the corners, so you’re coming onto the straights faster than the McLaren. It’s a beast!”
RESULTS (OPEN CLASS)
Nathan Morcom and Grant Denyer celebrate their AEC victory. [MPix photo]
Nathan Morcom claimed his and DPO’s first national motorsport title in the final round of the Australian Endurance Championship at Highlands Motorsport Park, New Zealand, on November 11-13.
Driving the DPO McLaren 650S, Nathan and his co-driver Grant Denyer won the championship despite finishing a disappointing eighth in the 414km Highlands 101. An overheating engine slowed their British supercar by several seconds a lap throughout most of the race. It also consumed excessive fuel. But Nathan and Grant made it to the finish to celebrate their series win.
Their task was made easier when Klark Quinn, the only other driver with a mathematical chance of overhauling their points lead, also struck overheating issues with his McLaren. Quinn wasn’t classified as a finisher after losing too much time in the pits during the 101-lap race.
Nathan was thrilled to win his first national motorsport title. “I’m over the moon to win with Grant in my first year in the Australian Endurance Championship,” he said. “The last few laps were tough though. I had to slow down to save fuel, but if I’d gone much slower I’d have been black-flagged out of the race. Near the finish I made a quick pit stop for a top-up, but we made it.”
Earlier in the weekend, Nathan wound up third in the Australian GT Championship. He was in contention to win the title going into the first of Saturday’s two hour-long races, and was first across the Finish Line. But afterwards he was disqualified for a last-lap tangle with arch-rival Klark Quinn while they were battling for the lead.
Nathan Morcom and Klark Quinn tangle during the closing stages of the first AGTC race. [MPix photo]
In Saturday’s second race he charged from the rear of the field into the Top 10, and was leading as the field took their compulsory pit stops. But the DPO McLaren had been hit by another car early in the race, and Nathan could only finish seventh in the damaged car. Although Nathan and New Zealander Craig Baird tied on points for second in the championship, Nathan placed third after a countback of race placings during the series.
“It was disappointing being disqualified from the first race,” he said. “Klark and I were both going for the series win, and there was a gap so I went for it. If you never try, you never know! In the second race a bump from behind broke my car’s rear aero diffuser. It cost me speed in the corners, so I wasn’t able to challenge for the lead after that.
“But finishing third in my first year in the GT Championship is great – I couldn’t have asked for more. Huge thanks to DPO, RONDO, CSR and SevenFriday for their support this year.”
2016 AUSTRALIAN ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL POINTSCORE
Nathan at speed in the DPO McLaren 650S at the picturesque Highlands circuit. [MPix photo]
2016 AUSTRALIAN GT CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL POINTSCORE
* decided on a countback of race placings