TA2 Muscle Car Series graduate Nathan Herne will become the third driver in Australian TA2 history to compete in a round of the American Trans-Am Championship when he makes his international racing debut next month at Circuit of The Americas in Texas.
Herne, the 2019 TA2 Muscle Car Series Rookie of the Year who has 15 TA2 race wins and three pole positions, will make a one-off appearance as part of the Stevens-Miller Racing squad where he will drive a Ford Mustang as part of the factory Howe Racing Enterprises team at COTA.
Herne’s drive was facilitated by TA2 Muscle Car Series founder Peter Robinson in conjunction with Joe Stevens, owner of Stevens-Miller Racing in an arrangement which began in 2018 to send Australian TA2 champions to compete in the United States with assistance from TA2 car constructor Howe Racing Enterprises.
Herne’s American trip will follow two previous visits by Australian TA2 drivers to race with Stevens-Miller Racing in the US. Inaugural TA2 Muscle Car Series Champion Russell Wright raced a Mustang at COTA in 2018, while 2018 champion Ashley Jarvis raced a Camaro at Daytona International Speedway in 2019.
The TA2 Muscle Car Series will have further presence at the event, with TA2 Technical Manager and Motorsport Australia Technical Advisor Cameron Sendall joining Herne at COTA to assist with the team and to gain additional information to enhance the Australian series.
Herne currently races S5000 for Garry Rogers Motorsport, with the Tasman Series kicking off at next week’s Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500, with Herne set to race at COTA the weekend after.
It will be Herne’s first foray overseas, albeit plans were put in place following the 2019 season to head to the US, but these were thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The final round of the American TA2 Championship at COTA is on November 4-6.
Peter Robinson – TA2 Muscle Car Series Founder
“We are extremely proud to present opportunities for our Australian TA2 drivers to race internationally, as we have done with former champions Russell Wright and Ashley Jarvis,” said Robinson.
“Joe Stevens from Stevens-Miller Racing has provided an outstanding opportunity to Australian TA2 champions previously, and we are proud to continue our relationship with the team to facilitate Nathan’s opportunity this year which we know he will grab with both hands.
“Rusty and Ashley threatened the podium with their pace during their races in the US, so we know our Australian drivers are competitive when they join the American field.
“Our American visits are also important from a technical standpoint to keep an eye on the latest developments for the TA2 class which we feel will enhance our successful same-spec formula in Australia.
“We are sure everyone in the TA2 community will be following his journey with excitement and cannot wait to see him represent Australia on the world stage.”
Nathan Herne – 2019 TA2 Muscle Car Series Rookie of the Year
“This year was a weird one. I thought to myself the last few years I’ve had in Australia hopefully something was going to happen, but it went into a quiet phase where I just settled and thought this was going to be the end of my racing until next season. All of a sudden this popped up and a few other things are starting to emerge, so it’s pretty cool.
“To go over to the US is something I’ve always dreamed about since I was about 12-years-old, but I quickly wrote that off as soon as I found out how much it cost to go over there. To finally get the opportunity to go over there, I’m keen as mustard and hopefully it’s not the last chance to go.
“After 2019, we were even trying to get over there and test the waters. Back then it was a different proposition because I was unproven and a young bloke who just wanted to get over there to race as a bucket list item, but now it’s turned into something different.
“It’s great that COVID is somewhat behind us as I can go over there to do this and fingers crossed it all goes well.
“We’re with Stevens-Miller Racing. We’ve been talking to team owner Joe Stevens for a couple of years now and the Americans like to keep a keen eye on the Australian series, which they know all about.
“Stevens-Miller Racing is the Howe factory team and in Australia we race the same brand chassis. In America, it’s a bit different with bigger engines, different chassis manufacturers, more aero and a half radial tyre.
“The American TA2 cars are much more like a Supercar than the Australian version, so it will be exciting and fingers crossed it all goes well.
“I’ve got two sessions to get my eye in around the track before official practice starts through Trans Am and Stevens-Miller Racing, which have put that together for me. I’m racing at the Circuit of The Americas, which is a big facility with a lot of blind apexes, so it’s going to be hard to learn.
“I’ve just got to take the pressure off and enjoy it because this is just a bucket list item for me, I’m not really expecting anything to come out of this, but never say never and maybe something will.
“For now, I’m still 100 per cent committed to Australia to see what I can do locally, I have S5000 a week before and the Bathurst International after.”
Team owner, Stevens-Miller Racing
“Nathan is a rising talent in many forms of motor racing and undoubtedly a future racing star,” said Stevens.
“His trust in Stevens-Miller Racing and the Howe Racing Ent. group is more than enough reason for SMR to extend the offer and get him over here.
“This partnership also represents a rare opportunity for our company to show why we are special. Nathan will be driving a new Mustang with some of the 2023 development parts from Howe Racing and we also look forward to hearing his feedback on them.
“The challenges for Nathan at COTA will be many as he joins this series at the season finale.
“This group of TA2 racers in the United States can be, at times, rough. First, he will have to be fast in all 20 turns here at COTA – that in itself is no small measure. Next, he will have to battle to and for the front of this pack. All of these things together amount to a big challenge including having to deal with serious jet lag.
“But we believe Nathan will excel at all the challenges presented to him. If he can bond with the team, our cars, and this track, he will continue to shine as he does in Australia.”