With a hat-trick of victories, Mustang driver Chad Cotton claimed the round win at the debut outing for TA2 Racing Australia at Lakeside Park on August 6 and 7.
An eight-car grid consisting of fifth and sixth generation Ford Mustangs and Chevrolet Camaros took to the historic 2.41 kilometre circuit for the first of two rounds for the year, following demonstration runs at Queensland Raceway and Wakefield Park.
After the inaugural 20-minute qualifying session, it was a Mustang 1-2-3 with former Supercars privateer Craig Harris (Mustang) landing pole with a 55.94, narrowly ahead of Russell Wright (Mustang) with a 55.98, and Chad Cotton (Mustang) clocking a 56.23. Series Founder Peter Robinson (Camaro) was the best of the Camaros with a 56.49.
Harris lead from pole to claim the inaugural race win in the series, taking the chequered flag ahead of a hard-charging Cotton and Robinson. Wright, who was on double duty with Round 5 of the Australian Trans-Am Series engaged in a three-way dice for the lead early on, but fell to fifth position behind Ian McAlister (Mustang) who picked up two spots to finish fourth. First-time circuit racer Cameron Sendall (Camaro) and former Supercars privateer Bob Thorn (Camaro) brought up the rear of the field.
Cotton capitalised off the start to claim his maiden win in the series in race two, holding onto the lead ahead of Harris and Wright. There were battles all the way through the field during the eight-lap encounter, as McAlister, Thorn and Sendall engaged in a race-long stoush.
The Canberra driver secured his second consecutive victory in race three, closely followed by Harris and Wright. McAlister failed to make the grid after suffering alternator issues, while Thorn’s race came to an end on the third lap as a broken splitter resulted from running over the ripple strip at the Karussell.
Cotton’s third successive win was the sweetest of victories, setting the category lap record at a 55.21 en route to the chequered flag. Harris secured second position for the round while Sendall completed the race four podium. McAlister climbed back to fourth while Wright, who started second, suffered a puncture and fell back to fifth.
Reflecting on the magnitude of the series debut, Cotton said he was over the moon to be the inaugural round winner for the category.
“I wasn’t expecting a lot this weekend, this was only my second ever race meeting at Lakeside.
“The guys I am racing with are so professional, a lot of them have come from a lifetime of racing. The cars are all the same so it comes down to the driver and I was lucky enough to have a good run.
“It is great to be a part of this class,” Cotton said.
Robinson was pleased with the first standalone TA2 race meeting in the Southern Hemisphere.
“It couldn’t have gone any better. The way the guys drove, the presentation of the vehicles, the feedback from the fans, all in all it was a fantastic effort by all involved and we all can’t wait for the next round,” Robinson said.
The second round of the series will be at Queensland Raceway on October 15 and 16.