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Thursday, May 30, 2024


COMEBACK kid James Golding has laid the foundations to help ensure his PremiAir Racing tenure extends beyond seven Repco Supercars Championship rounds.

Golding has surprised even himself at how quickly he has gotten up to speed in the Triple Eight machinery after being called up as a mid-season replacement for Garry Jacobson, who was sacked in June.

Having not driven full-time since Garry Rogers Motorsport pulled the pin on its Supercars program at the end of 2019, Golding matched up reasonably well with teammate Chris Pither in Townsville before taking noticeable strides at The Bend and Sandown.

In a sodden third race at The Bend, Golding was running eighth on merit – ahead of eventual fourth-place finisher Will Davison – past the halfway mark before being collected by an out-of-control David Reynolds.

Golding did blot his copybook during Saturday qualifying at Sandown, bringing out the red flags, but made amends by driving from the back of the grid to 13th in that afternoon’s Race 24.

Golding aboard the #31 Subway Holden. Pic: Rhys Vandersyde / InSyde Media

There was more to come the very next day, the 26-year-old giving PremiAir its first ever top 10 qualifying result and converting it into ninth place in Race 25.

“The car speed was there, Jimmy was there, it was a very good race and to be inside the top 10 is amazing for the team who have all collectively done an amazing job,” was team principal Matt Cook’s reaction.

Golding is known to be highly regarded by team owner Peter Xiberras and now perhaps has the inside running to hold his place into the Gen3 era.

Few vacancies remain for the 2023 grid, with PremiAir’s line-up among those firming, given Tim Slade is anticipated to join from the Blanchard Racing Team next season.

Asked pre-Sandown about locking down his longer-term prospects at PremiAir, Golding was clear.

“That’s my goal,” he told V8 Sleuth.

“I’m enjoying it so far and can see the potential in the team long-term as well, so I’d be super keen to be a part of that and that’s what I’m working towards in the long run, continuing on with the team.

“Obviously we need to get a few more things ticked off before we get to that point but that’s something I would really like to do.”

Golding with PremiAir Racing team principal Matt Cook (second from left). Pic: Rhys Vandersyde / InSyde Media

Long a GRM protégé, the Warragul product noted similarities between the two organisations had sped up his integration.

“Every team is different in their own respect but I think there’s a lot of characters in the team that are pretty easy-going and have a joke around which is pretty similar to GRM,” he said.

“They still knuckle down and get it done when they need to but it’s a pretty easy-going environment and straightaway for me that was a pretty easy transition.

“Working with them is the easy part which makes going faster a bit easier at the end of the day.

“If you don’t have good support and confidence in the people around you, it’s always going to be a tough task.”

Next up on the Supercars schedule is the championship’s final visit to Pukekohe Park Raceway for Round 10 of the season across September 9-11.

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