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Long-awaited Superlicence in Herne’s sights

NATHAN Herne admits Superlicence eligibility is at the forefront of his mind as he returns to the Trico Trans Am Series.

Under the rejigged system rolled out this year by Motorsport Australia, Herne currently has 14 of the necessary 15 points to qualify for a Superlicence (pending a Supercars team applying on his behalf) – and Super2 experience is no longer mandatory.

Herne will rejoin the Australian Trans Am competition from Round 2 at next week’s Race Tasmania, already 140 points off the series lead held by James Moffat after the 2023 champion swept Round 1 at Sandown.

However, Herne only needs to place fourth in the end-of-year standings to pick up one more Superlicence point. Fourth place overall currently belongs to Tim Slade, on 76 points.

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Herne was infamously denied a Superlicence exemption to compete in a Garry Rogers Motorsport wildcard at the 2020 Bathurst 1000, after which time he has won two Trans Am titles and spent a year in the United States.

The 21-year-old is making no secret of the fact a Superlience is well and truly in his sights now – even if it’s not just for his own benefit.

“The whole Superlicence thing, obviously I have had my fair times with that,” he told V8 Sleuth.

“For me, at this point in time, everything I’m doing, yes while I have my selfish intentions of wanting to race Supercars because I have always wanted to do it, but for me now I realise the position I’m in.

“I met a bloke that I have actually done driver-coaching for his son in go-karts and he was at a motocross track; I asked him how his son was going with racing and he actually told me that he quit racing after he saw the Superlicence thing I went through and started racing motorbikes instead.

“So for me now, I’ve realised that it’s not just me that I’m representing; for the good of the sport, I need to get this licence to make sure this sport survives.

“Because to have a kid from Lismore think he can’t race in Supercars or make it to the top of motorsport anymore because I couldn’t do it, I don’t want to be the reason for that.

“So, yes, I want to get a Superlience, but I want to make sure I do this for the sport and for myself as well.

“Long story short, it is definitely at the forefront of my mind.”

Herne will now race against former teams GRM and Dream Racing Australia, with his privately run Nathan Herne Racing outfit.

Nathan Herne aboard his Dodge Challenger in 2021. Pic: Jack Martin Photography

His journey to Symmons Plains begins tomorrow, with a stop at Winton along the way for a shakedown of the Dodge Challenger he’s dragged out of retirement.

“This is a bit of a point to prove, not only to myself but to a few others, that I can run a race car and drive it and do the whole gist of it myself,” he said.

“I ran a car myself in New Zealand (in the recent TA2 Trans-Tasman Challenge) and that went really well, but races are won in between rounds at workshops.

“There’s only so much you can do at the track, so for me it is going to be just managing the time in between racing and trying to look after my racing career whilst also making sure the car is ready to go.”

And although his focus is clearly shifting back to operations Down Under, Herne hasn’t given up altogether on the American dream.

“I’m still planning on doing a few races over there this year,” he said.

“I’ve got hopefully some short track racing I will do, some dirt track racing, and maybe get over for some TA2 stuff as well.”

Race Tasmania will be held across March 15-17.

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