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What’s behind the new and improved Ben Bargwanna

NO stone has been left unturned in Ben Bargwanna’s quest to better himself.

From studying motorsport at a greater depth to better household habits, the 22-year-old’s efforts have been all-encompassing and the rewards were immediately evident last month at Sandown.

For the first time in his career, Bargwanna is the TCR Australia points leader as the series heads to Symmons Plains for Round 2 this weekend.

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They say in motorsport it’s just as important to understand why things are going well as it is to understand why things are going badly… so what’s behind the new and improved third-gen Bargwanna?

“Off-track I have been working a lot harder on myself and trying to become a better race car driver,” he explained to V8 Sleuth.

Ben Bargwanna at Sandown. Pic: Supplied/Speed Shots Photography

“But I think even with my engineer (Lucas Kirby), him and I have been doing a lot of work together between last year and this year making sure we have got the best package we can rolling out at the start of this year.

“I think we just maximised the practice sessions that weekend. We really learnt a lot and we really spent some hours in the truck after it just trying to learn everything we could so that we rolled into qualifying with a good car.

“It’s always easier when the car rolls out of the truck pretty good. We weren’t far off the window which always helps, but it felt like some of the best driving I have ever done and it felt like some of the best feedback I’ve ever given.”

Elaborating on working harder at his own craft, Bargwanna continued: “There’s a few things. My fitness is probably one of them and at the end of last year I did a lot of racing so that also helped.

“But I think for me it’s really breaking down my race weekends, picking them apart and understanding why things went the way they did, understanding why I made the decisions I did.

“And a lot of things off-track, just being a bit better around the house, being tidier, being a bit more disciplined here and there, it has an effect everywhere.

“I think especially at the end of last year, I made some big mistakes and I also had some good results… I actually really just spent a lot of time sitting down processing a lot of that and I feel like I have a much greater understanding of the world of motorsport now because I just took the time to dive in deep.

“Even watching a lot of other races, I’ve been watching a lot of NASCAR races recently and I started to understand why guys make the decisions they do.

“It’s hard to put it down to one thing, but it’s just improving my life in a lot of areas.

“And look, I’m still not perfect, I still have got a long way to go, but I’m starting to understand the direction I need to go.”

Prior to Race Tasmania, where TCR practice takes place today, Bargwanna lapped up a unique opportunity to race an S5000 against a plane at the recent Tyabb Airshow.

“That was definitely one of the wildest and coolest experiences I’ve ever had in my life,” he said.

“It sort of came about because (Garry Rogers Motorsport competition director) Marcos Ambrose has a hangar on the Tyabb runway there.

“I think every year they have an airshow and Matt Mingay races against a plane or something, but this year because Marcos was involved, he put up an S5000 and the team rang me and asked if I wanted to do it. I was like ‘yes’ straightaway.

“It was so cool. I’ve never done anything like that. Dead cold tyres, full noise down the runway, it’s bumpy as, the car is moving around and there’s this plane just above your head going full noise as well.

“There was heaps of people there so it was just awesome. Everyone absolutely loved it.

“You see Red Bull do all of those crazy things and then it’s like I’m kind of doing something like that. I was definitely very appreciative of the opportunity, I had so much fun.”

Bargwanna (Peugeot) leads the TCR standings by two points from 2023 champion Josh Buchan (Hyundai).

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