Tom Hayman has had a challenging weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park and whilst it was evident that the car had plenty of speed, luck just wasn’t on Hayman’s side.
Practice was cut short for the privateer team after a mechanical failure forced the Mustang into the pits and ultimately put them on the back foot for qualifying.
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best weekend. We had quite a bit of bad luck,” said Hayman.
“Practice we started off pretty well and had a bit of pace, but we only got five laps for the whole session due to a steering arm failure and a collapsed shock. With only five laps for the whole of practice, that set us back for qualifying a little.
“We managed to qualify seventh though, which we were pretty happy with. We knew we had pretty good race pace, so we were feeling pretty confident leading into the race.”
The Trans Am Series took to the grid for race 1 under lights and starting from the fourth row of the grid, Hayman was eager to push forward. However, a mistake from the Newcastle-born racer early in the race would see the 19-year-old playing recovery after going off track in the opening laps.
“I didn’t get off to a great start for the race; I put myself in the wrong position at Turn 3 and got pushed off the track into the gravel,” said Hayman.
“When we returned to the track, we were second last. We had really good car speed though and I managed to press on and push my way forward and crossed the line in ninth.”
Saturday was the final day of action, and Hayman would be starting race 2 from ninth. A slight miss of the lights at the start of the race saw Hayman slip back a few positions, before going into recovery mode again. The Mustang had plenty of speed and Hayman impressively worked through field to finish seventh.
“We started from ninth for Saturday’s race 2, which wasn’t too bad. However, a little mistake from myself and missing the start, after not being able to see the lights ultimately put me back into 14th position,” said Hayman.
“Our car showed really good speed again and we were able to fight back for seventh, which was really cool.”
A potential podium was on the cards for Hayman for race 3 who was battling with Tim Brook for the best part of 10 laps, however a mechanical failure would jeopardise what could have been.
“Our speed continued into Saturday, and we managed to fight our way up to fourth by lap 10. I had a really good battle with (Tim) Brook, which was lots of fun. With 3 laps to go, we were looking pretty good and had our eyes focused for a podium,” said Hayman.
“Unfortunately, going through Turn 1 we had a bit of a front-end failure, the upper ball joint collapsed itself and snapped the bolts, which sent me spearing off the track at 200km/hr which was pretty scary.
“It was very unfortunate as we were in a position to battle for a podium finish, but ended up having to retire the car in the end and so we didn’t get the finish.
“We started from the back of the grid for race 4 in 18th. But we just took it one lap by one lap and made sure we made the pass as quickly as possible and managed to climb up into P5, which I was really happy with.
“We had car speed all weekend; unfortunately, the end results didn’t quite reflect our true speed.
“A big thanks to all the crew for their efforts and fixing the car throughout the weekend and making sure I got back out onto the track for each session.”
With only a few days turn around, The National Trans Am Series head to Supercheap Auto Bathurst International for the season finale this weekend, 10 – 12 November.
“Obviously we have a quick turnaround going into Bathurst this weekend, with only a couple of days to prepare the car and we leave on Thursday,” said Hayman.
“Hopefully we have a better run at Bathurst and secure a good spot in the Championship and end the year on a high.
“Thank you to all of my sponsors and supporters for all your continued support as well.”
Friday 3rd November
Practice 1 – 8th
Qualifying – 7th
Race 1 – 9th (13 laps)
Saturday 4th November
Race 2 – 7th (14 laps)
Race 3 – DNF
Race 4 – 5th (15 laps)