Luckless Ben Grice laments unfulfilled pace advantage
Ben Grice’s second Turtle Wax Trans Am Series campaign has been defined so far by not a lack of pace, but a failure to consistently convert in what has been a luckless start to the season.
Expanding to three entries this season for the first time, Grice in the lead All American Driveline Ford Mustang has started within the top three in all rounds so far, but is placed 14th in the standings as an array of incidents and mechanical problems has afflicted his campaign so far.
“Our cars are fast, we just need to stop walking under ladders, breaking mirrors and get a bit of luck then we’ll get some results for sure,” Grice explained.
“The speed is there, I’m really happy with my team and the All American Driveline Mustang is fast.
It was a special weekend for Grice as his father two-time Bathurst winner Allan attended and a special opportunity to tour the track occurred during the event build up, while racing one of his racing heroes added another element.
“I got to hang out with my dad and we did a cool lap together in the safety car, that was pretty awesome,” Grice explained.
“Racing door-to-door with Owen Kelly in the final race and I have a lot of respect for him because I used wag school to watch him race on a Monday morning in NASCAR, so you got to pinch yourself when you’re racing against him at Mount Panorama.”
Third in Bathurst’s opening race was a strong start, but a gearbox malady dropped Grice to 18th before the finale was shortened due to a big incident on Conrod Straight as he finished sixth.
“Certainly, the speed is there,” Grice said.
“It wasn’t the speed advantage we had at Phillip Island, but a different track in terms of bumps. Also following is difficult in these cars because once you get in the dirty air – we had to come form position eight in Race 3 – the aerodynamics is pretty affected. When you get clear air on the nose, there’s more front grip and we were able to move forward a few spots.
“We weren’t able to do much because there wasn’t a lot of green racing laps, which was a bit of a shame.”
Sydney Motorsport Park was a happy hunting ground for Grice last year following a third place round result in the first visit before and a strong run on the All American Driveline Mustang’s debut there in November, signalling the second-generation racer as one to watch later this month.
“We were third last year there in the Dodge and our cars are a lot better than they were then,” Grice emphasised.
“But with this category, every time you roll out it’s getting more and more competitive, which is a real good way to be. You get a result in this category; you definitely earn it and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Teammate Nic Carroll’s season has followed the same path as Grice’s with speed not a problem, rather conversion, but his mentor is excited by what is to come
“Nic’s being going well, we’ve been working hard to get the cars faster and his feedback has been good,” Grice explained.
“I’ve been really pleased with the association.”
The Turtle Wax Trans Am Series features as part of the third round of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships at Sydney Motorsport Park which is headlined by fellow Australian Racing Category the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series in addition to the S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship and Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters.
Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge, the Australian Production Car Series, Radical Cup and the Australian Prototype Series complete a stacked program of categories.
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