Nathan Morcom charges to victory at Mt Panorama in his DPO/Rondo Formula Ford. [MPix photo]
Few racing drivers win on debut at the legendary Mt Panorama – but for DPO’s Nathan Morcom last weekend it was just ‘blowing away the cobwebs’.
Nathan drove a DPO/Rondo Spirit WL08 in the Formula Ford 1600 support races at the Bathurst 12-hour meeting. It was a precursor to his next Mt Panorama start, which will be in a major national championship series, to be confirmed soon.
The 20 year-old Sydney driver had gone to the iconic venue with the main aim of learning its daunting 6.2km length on his first appearance. But he ended up taking the chequered flag!
“Prior experience at any circuit is important, but especially at Mt Panorama because it’s a public road and you can’t practise there all year round,” Nathan said.“I hadn’t raced at Mount Panorama before, so I took the opportunity to learn it before the national championship round.”
Despite not having driven a Formula Ford for more than two years, he qualified fifth fastest of the 31 FF1600 drivers, many of them Mt Panorama veterans. He finished second in the first two races, all the time lowering his lap times as his experience increased.
In the third and final race, Nathan took the fight up to race leader Jonathan Venter, and near the end of the fifth lap he grabbed the lead in a daring move through The Chase. It was perfect timing, because seconds after he crossed the Start/Finish line to begin lap six, the Safety Car came out following a crash on another part of the circuit.
Nathan duly led the field around what turned out to be the final lap behind the Safety Car, taking the win! He capped off the victory with a fastest race lap more than eight-tenths of a second quicker than the next best.
Afterwards he said that his primary goal was to prepare for his return visit to Mt Panorama, but the victory was a bonus.
“To be honest I wasn’t expecting to win this weekend,” he said. “I mainly wanted to blow away the cobwebs and be confident here, because next time I’ll be in a faster car against some of Australia’s top drivers.
“At least I know the way around Mt Panorama now!”
Nathan thanked his sponsors, Rondo, Direct Plasterboard Outlet and Racer, for their continued support of his motor racing program.
DPO racer Nathan Morcom and the race-winning DPO/Rondo Formula Ford 1600 openwheeler.
|1.||Nathan Morcom (DPO/Rondo Spirit WL08)
|2.||Jonathan Venter (Spirit WL11)||22min. 38.3512sec.|
|3.||Brett Francis (Van Diemen RF02)||22min. 38.6239sec.|
Fastest race lap: Nathan Morcom (2min. 27.0062sec.)