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Thursday, May 30, 2024


NATHAN Herne has admitted the controversial distortions spotted on Garry Rogers Motorsport’s fleet of Turtle Wax Trans Am Series cars was a deliberate ploy to capitalise on a loophole in the rulebook.

As first reported by V8 Sleuth yesterday, paddock talk around the bowed GRM roof/rear windows spilled over into the public arena following last weekend’s action at Queensland Raceway.

Herne won all three races to reclaim the points lead from teammate Owen Kelly.

GRM director Barry Rogers moved to downplay the matter, but Herne has now come out swinging to defend the legality of the cars – even if an advantage had been enjoyed.

Speaking on The Driver’s Seat podcast, Herne explained that the tactic was first accidentally discovered on teammate Lochie Dalton’s car.

“Lochie Dalton’s car was formerly Owen Kelly’s car, which was one of the first cars in the country,” said the 2021 title winner.

“That thing, it actually broke one of the struts in the roof, which sucked the roof down and we noticed that in onboard footage and thought ‘gee, wonder what is going on there’.

“So that was that car, that happened at Symmons Plains. After Symmons Plains we went on top of the car and we were pushing on it and when we were cleaning the car the roof sucked in – we thought, ‘here we go, there’s something there’.

“We looked inside the car, we saw the roof strut was broken… the roof struts are literally just a small little bolt and the roof was flimsy as flimsy.

“At the end of the day, there’s no rules broken at all from GRM’s perspective, it is what it is.

Herne celebrates victory. Pic: Australian Racing Group

“Yep, it doesn’t look good. We have done it since Phillip Island and it’s never been a problem. It has been brought up in the category before, technical delegates have never had a problem with it.

“I think Jon (McCorkindale), who posted it and brought it all to light, he had a bit of a rough weekend. I’m not a big fan of the way he went about it.”

A similar matter arose during the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series, with the caved roof believed to bring aerodynamic/downforce benefits.

“It’s Trans Am, not NASCAR, it’s not like we’re racing around Daytona,” Herne said.

“Granted it may give us maybe half a kilometre an hour down the straight at a maximum, to be honest, and with rear aero you honestly don’t know if it helps or it doesn’t.

“It’s sort of something to mess with the other competitors’ heads and just a bit of a show to say we’re looking at everything on these cars.”

Brodie Kostecki, Nathan Herne and Jett Johnson on the QR podium. Pic: Australian Racing Group

Herne reiterated that no rules had been broken, although he wouldn’t be surprised if a regulatory change comes before the penultimate round of the season at Sandown on September 16-18.

“The reason we get paid at GRM is to produce the fastest race car and to produce the fastest race car, you go through the rulebook and you do whatever you do in the rulebook to make the fastest race car,” he said.

“The thing is 100 percent legal. At the end of the day, it can be brought to attention, 100 percent, because that’s how you move the category forward.

“The rule book is made from what the category already knows. If someone comes through and finds a loophole and their cars are faster the next two rounds because of it and then the rule gets changed, that is what it is.

“It’s motorsport, it’s the sport we’re in… if the rule gets changed for next round, we’ll tighten the roof strut and that’s it, we’ll be done with it.”

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