DPO has teamed with CSR and Rondo as sponsors of up-and-coming racing driver Nathan Morcom in the 2013 Australian Formula 3 Drivers’ Championship – and the racetrack partnership has already tasted success!
Nathan was the standout driver in last weekend’s opening round of the championship at Bathurst’s famous Mt Panorama circuit.
He began by setting the fastest ever officially recorded lap of the 6.213km public road course, which hosts the 1000km V8 Supercars race each October. His time of 2 minutes 3.2396 seconds, at an average 181km/h, beat the Mt Panorama all-time record by an amazing 1.4 seconds, and the V8 Supercars record by more than four seconds!
The fact that it was only Nathan’s second race meeting at Australia’s longest and most daunting racetrack, and his debut there driving a Formula 3 car (he drove a less powerful Formula Ford car in support events for the Bathurst 12-Hour race in February) didn’t faze him in the slightest.
In fact, he was heading for an even faster qualifying lap when a slower car got in the way.
Although a sluggish start cost Nathan any chance of winning the first heat on Saturday afternoon, he dominated Sunday’s second heat to take his – and the CSR/Rondo/DPO team’s – first Formula 3 Championship race win!
The result was all the more meritorious considering the race was held on a treacherously slippery rain-soaked track.
Afterwards Nathan described the difficult track conditions in the second race, and his battle for the lead with 2012 Australian Formula 3 Champion James Winslow.
“There was a rain shower just before we went onto the grid,” he said. “It was fairly light at the bottom part of the circuit, but apparently it was heavier across the top of Mt Panorama, so the race was declared ‘wet’.
We changed from slick tyres to treaded wet weather ones, but there was no time to change the ‘dry’ set-up of the car.
“I spent the first lap of the race looking for a place to get past Winslow. We were both sliding around a fair bit, especially through The Dipper, but my car was a lot faster through the corners. I’ve liked racing in the wet since I was in go-karts, so it didn’t worry me.
“At the start of lap two I followed him into Hell Corner, slipstreamed him up Mountain Straight, and pulled out to pass on the outside into Griffin’s Bend. I was about half a car-length ahead going into the corner but he gave me racing room, which put me on the inside line for The Cutting.
“He had a go back at me under brakes but I held him out, and across the top of the mountain I was able to pull out a gap. After a few laps I saw in my mirrors that I was about halfway down Con-Rod Straight before Winslow and the others came out of Forrest’s Elbow, so I tried to maintain that gap.
“I could have gone faster, but the conditions were very tricky and you don’t get a second chance to make a mistake at this circuit.
“Thanks to Ian Richards and his R-Tek Motorsports crew for their great job preparing the car, and to my sponsors CSR, Rondo, DPO and Racer Inc. for their support of my 2013 racing program.”
A full report and more photos are on Nathan Morcom’s website.