Trans Am star Herne to race in USA

Nathan Herne racing at Sandown. Pic: Supplied

AUSTRALIAN Trans Am ace Nathan Herne will test himself on the global stage, locking in a cameo at the Circuit of The Americas.

There, Herne will line up in the final round of the United States’ National Trans Am Championship, driving a Stevens-Miller Racing Ford Mustang.

That will come across November 4-6, just a week out from the Bathurst International at which he’ll compete in the non-championship Turtle Wax Trans Am 100.

The 20-year-old last month clinched his second successive Australian Trans Am crown, staving off a challenge from former Supercars and NASCAR driver Owen Kelly.

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Stevens-Miller Racing team owner Joe Stevens labelled Herne a rising talent but warned there will be tough competition awaiting him.

“This group of TA2 racers in the United States can be, at times, rough,” he said.

“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.”

Herne is excited about the challenge ahead of him.

“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,” said the Lismore product.

“To finally get the opportunity to go over there, I’m keen as mustard and hopefully it’s not the last chance to go.

Herne. Pic: Supplied

“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.”

TA2 Muscle Car Series founder Peter Robinson expressed pride in facilitating the opportunity.

“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.

“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.”

Herne, who briefly tested a PremiAir Racing Supercar in August, noted the American Trans Am cars are quite different to their Australian counterparts.

“In America, it’s a bit different with bigger engines, different chassis manufacturers, more aero and a half radial tyre,” he explained.

“The American Trans Am cars are much more like a Supercar than the Australian version, so it will be exciting and fingers crossed it all goes well.

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“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.”

It had been hoped that there would be an American presence at the upcoming Bathurst Trans Am round, although no such announcements have come thus far.

Connor O’Brien joined V8 Sleuth in 2022 as website Editor. He won the Supercars Media Award in 2017 while working as a sports reporter at the Gold Coast Bulletin, before stints at Supercars and Speedcafe. During his time at V8 Sleuth he's twice (2022, 2023) been named Journalist of the Year at the Supercars Media Awards.